Today I’m reviewing London Noir, book two in Ann’s Kal Medi series. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the book in just a moment, as soon as I’ve shown you what the book is all about.
The Official Book Blurb
Memory loss, nightmares, the urge to kill – Sophie has it all.
Is it really Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? Or something more sinister? Kal is about to find out…
After a near-fatal road accident, Kal helps a young girl in trouble.
The girl’s friends are being murdered one by one. Why? And who by?
Kal must kick start herself out of her downward spiral to save the young stranger.
But Kal is in the grip of the London Cartel and is someone after the girl, or is the girl after someone…
A stand-alone crime suspense thriller. The second Kal Medi book.
I really enjoyed reading Good Girl, Bad Girl by Ann Girdharry last year, the first book in her new Kal Medi series. A really gripping action story in which photo-journalist Kal Medi tried to track down her missing mother. Now while many of Kal’s questions were answered, we were left with a few open ends which are carried over into this story. Now while the main plot of the story itself can be read as a stand alone, be aware that it may also contain mild spoilers from book one so it’s worth baring in mind when you pick this up. Or better still, start with book one first.
Still reeling from the events in the previous book, Kal is struggling to get her life back on track. She is allowing her doubts to almost control her and focusing only on the past. so when she gets some good news about a friend and closure on a previous investigation, it seems as though she may finally be able to move on.
On her way to visit her best friend Marty, Kal’s distraction almost leads to her running down a young girl, Sophie, in the street. There is something about the girl that spikes Kal’s interest, and when she asks Kal to take her to a disreputable part of London, Kal is even more concerned. When one of Sophie’s friends is brutally murdered, Kal agrees to keep the girl safe, not knowing just how hard that will be, or the lengths someone will go to to get Sophie back.
This is essentially a book about a serial killer. A very sadistic and cold one at that. This is a person who has been killing for years, as we can see from the passages told in their almost robotic and clinical voice, and although no clinical diagnosis is offered, this is clearly someone with sociopathic tendencies. Outwardly charming, this person kills without remorse but in this case they have a long outstanding score to settle. They remain hidden throughout, with no end of suspects set out in front of readers, giving plenty of opportunity for reader to act as investigator and try and piece together the clues to unmask a murderer.
Now we see an interesting side to Kal in this book. Although she is undoubtedly strong, both mentally and physically, wounds that she suffered and things that she experienced in the last book have weakened her. She appears more vulnerable, more the woman that her best friend Marty knows her to be. Without Marty by her side, she has doubts and allows her fears to surface regularly which adds a layer of jeopardy to an already tense situation. She has lost none of her intelligence or deductive reasoning, and she still has a highly tuned sense of people and what makes them tick, something ground into her as a child by her father. But there is just something, perhaps a slight nervousness, which dulls her previously sharp wit and tenacity just a little. This makes Kal appear more human and more relatable. Can she get back on track? Well here’s hoping as her life could depend on it.
London Noir sees the central characters placed in some very dangerous situations. Against her better judgment, Marty goes undercover, bringing her closer to the killer than any of them could have imagined. Kal invites Sophie into her home but could soon come to regret it as Sophie is a very damaged young girl with an apparent love of big knives. And then there is the Cartel. Kal enlists their help in tracking her mother, and in doing so owes them a debt which she is not so sure that she can pay. It all adds tot he tension, grabs the readers attention and propels them onward at a great pace of knots.
Once again highlighting the author’s great understanding of psychology, this book focuses upon areas of mind control and post traumatic stress disorder. There are several characters suffering as a result of prior events and it is great to see that this is explored within the book, that they are not just shrugging it off and moving on. It also explores the very dark nature of the psychopath and perhaps should come with a warning. While we are not necessarily given graphic blow by blow accounts of the most violent murders, we are told of the aftermath, of the injuries inflicted upon the killers victims and it makes for uneasy reading at times. However, it is only fleeting and not enough to detract from a story which is compelling and contains characters you cannot help but root for.
My thanks to Ann Girdharry for providing an advance copy of London Noir for review. The book is available now from the following retailers:
About the Author
Ann Girdharry is a British crime suspense thriller author.
A trained psychotherapist, she worked for many years as a manager in the not-for-profit sector, for agencies working with carers, vulnerable older people, survivors of abuse, and victims of racial attacks.
She currently lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children.
Her debut novel, GOOD GIRL BAD GIRL, is an ERIC HOFFER BOOK AWARD Finalist 2017.
Her second crime suspense thriller, LONDON NOIR, will be published October 2017.
She is also author of Chilling Tales of the Unexpected Short Reads.