Today I’m sharing my thoughts on Mimic, the latest dark and twisted thriller from Daniel Cole, author of the Ragdoll series. My thanks to publishers Trapeze for the advance copy of the audiobook and to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for the blog tour invite. You may have spotted that Mandie has also been reviewing this one and you can find her thoughts here. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
In life she was his muse…in death she’ll be his masterpiece …
1989: DS Benjamin Chambers and DC Adam Winters are on the trail of a serial killer with a twisted passion for recreating the world’s greatest works of art through the bodies of his victims. After Chambers nearly loses his life, the case goes cold due to lack of evidence. The killer lies dormant, his collection unfinished.
2006: DS Marshall has excelled through the ranks of the Metropolitan Police Service, despite being haunted by the case that defined her teenage years. Having obtained new evidence, she joins Chambers and Winters to reopen the case. However, their resurrected investigation brings about a fresh reign of terror, the team treading a fine line between delivering justice and becoming vigilantes in their pursuit of a monster far more dangerous and intelligent than any of them had anticipated …
Oh I do love a good dark and twisted thriller, and when it comes to the macabre and the bizarre, Daniel Cole never disappoints. This is perhaps not quite as grizzly as some of the scenes in his Ragdoll series, but it certainly has echoes of that very twisted nature and the serial killer is far from a stab and run kind of personality. Their kills are far more ostentatious. More … staged. They are certainly making a statement. But what it lacked in bloodbathery, it made up for in style, wit and brilliant characters.
Narrated brilliantly by Jude Owusu I was drawn very quickly into this tale of a very dangerous art lover, the story opening in quite dramatic style with the discovery of a living statue. Or a not living one … Or, well, the jury was definitely out. What wasn’t up for debate was the fact that this was going to be a story that captured my imagination and that I was faced with characters, Chambers and Winters, who made me smile, even in the very dark circumstances of their meeting. From the beginning there was something about this pairing that just worked, and although seemingly chalk and cheese, they were on the same kind of wavelength, albeit that Winters added far more of the comedic value to the story. They way in which the narrator skilfully portrayed the two characters, giving them such distinct voices and capturing their personalities, just made the who story come alive.
This is a dark tale – an art aficionado who takes their appreciation of the classics to the next level and then some – but well handled and not gratuitously graphic. It’s not the first time that this has come up as a theme in literature, and the tableau style staging of the bodies did put me in mind of certain episodes of Dexter and another book I’ve read this year. But it’s fair to say that whilst the murderer is making a statement, it takes the urging of new Detective, Jordan Marshall, to get anyone in the upper echelons of the Police to listen to what they had to say. In spite of readers playing voyeur at one stage, the idea that the Met may be faced with a serial killer is well and truly pushed aside in favour of a far too convenient confession.
I liked the pacing on this one, which although slow to start with, picks up with some real edge of the seat and tense moments of action. But it is not all fast paced and it is often the subtle, understated moments of menace and threat that really make the skin prickle as much as those moments where the characters lives are in real jeopardy. We are spared most of the graphic detail of the murders, seeing only the aftermath which is both tragically macabre and highly creative. The reveal when it comes is not as dramatic as you might expect, but it doesn’t really matter, as the who, whilst important, is not really the whole point of this story. We know pretty early on just who they are chasing, it’s the thrill of that chase, the danger that they are in, that makes this story a winner.
This is billed as a standalone thriller but I really do think this trio of Detectives could have legs (no pun intended) and I’d love to see them back in some form in the future. Recommended for fans of the darkly humorous thriller.
About the Author
At 33 years old, Daniel Cole has worked as a paramedic, an RSPCA officer and most recently for the RNLI, driven by an intrinsic need to save people or perhaps just a guilty conscience about the number of characters he kills off in his writing.
On writing his debut novel RAGDOLL, which began life as an unproduced television pilot, Daniel says: ‘After five years of rejections, I had a yearning to actually finish one of my stories rather than leave it collecting dust with the others under my bed. With no formal training at all, I feel I wrote the book very selfishly, with the aim of creating something that I, personally, would love: as shocking as it is humorous, as thought-provoking as it is relentlessly entertaining, and with a cast of characters who feel like friends by the end of it.’
He currently lives in sunny Bournemouth and can usually be found down the beach when he ought to be writing book two instead.
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