Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review: THE KILLING BAY by Chris Ould

Publisher Titan
Length 462 pages
Format paperback
Published 2017
Series Faroes #2
My Copy provided by the publisher

My Review
The Faroes is a collection of islands set between Iceland and Norway, the weather is cold and the days short. The islands depend on traditional whale hunts as a means of food and it's embedded in the culture, spanning back hundreds of years. In The Killing Bay, author Chris Ould uses this traditional grind to stage the second Faroes crime novel. Shortly after the grind ends, a young female activist opposed to the whale slaughter is found murdered. Local law enforcement, led by detective Hjalti Hentze with assistance from visiting English detective Jan Reyna dig deep into the events during and after the grind for clues to catch the killer. 

This is a classic whodunit with an ever changing list of prime suspects. Borrowing heavily from the formulaic popular police procedural, The Killing Bay sets itself apart by virtue of providing a unique atmosphere and side story that doesn't add to the murder investigation but does bring an added layer of depth to the characters; the earlier suicide of Reyna's mother on the islands some years back. Reyna's investigation tiptoes along the line of the murder but never fully crosses it, the plot device is a clever way to explore the outer reaches of the island contributing to the geography and making places read familiar when the two separate investigations cross paths location-wise.    

As a second book in a series The Killing Bay reads ok as a standalone. I hadn't read The Blood Strand beforehand but wish I did as there are a number of events from that book which have a direct impact on the characters and their behavior in the follow-up. That said, the author provides enough back-story to make it all work, however I will be reading The Blood Strand sooner rather than later. The series, as far as I was able to gleam has a community feel to it with each police officer playing an active role, making this reader wanting to know more about them. 

I love books that bring more to the story than a plot and characters and The Killing Bay offers that by using a unique place-setting and providing insight into a deeply rooted culture. I found the book thoroughly enjoyable. 

4 / 5. 

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