Cut Out – Fergus McNeill
Nigel never meant for it to happen. At first, he just wanted to be Matt’s friend. But when he discovers he can hear what is going on in the flat below him, his fascination with his new neighbour drifts into obsession.
Rearranging his furniture to recreate the layout of the rooms downstairs. Buying the same clothes, going through his post, his things. Becoming Matt without him ever knowing.
And it would have been all right, if Matt hadn’t brought the girl home.
When things spiral out of control, Detective Inspector Harland has to unravel the disturbing truth. But there’s far more to the case than meets the eye . . .
Thanks to Hodder and Bookbridgr for my review copy.
This is the third book in the series featuring DI Harland. I am afraid I have not read the first two books, however, on the strength of Cut Out I can confidently confirm that I will be picking up the earlier books. I did not feel that having missed books 1 & 2 that it impacted upon my enjoyment of Cut Out, however, Harland’s back story is already established and I suspect I gained something of an insight into what may have occurred in the books I skipped.
So to Cut Out and my first introduction to Fergus McNeill’s work. The story description from the dust jacket was a good start – I liked what I read in the teaser so Cut Out jumped to the top of my TBR pile. Fifty pages in and I turned back to the dust jacket just to make sure that I had picked up the book I had intended to read – the story seemed to hold no similarity to the cover description.
Reassured that I had the correct book I stuck with it and (just 5 minutes later) I was rewarded when the story narrative jumped back in time and started to set up the plotline I had been expecting. As I progressed through the story I felt that the author made good use of jumping around timelines to unfold different elements of the story.
As outlined in the description above, Nigel has an unhealthy obsession with his neighbour (Matt) and starts to become a bit too consumed with how Matt chooses to live his life. Nigel seems to have a lonely existence and when he gets a glimpse of a life he could have things begin to spiral out of control taking him in a direction he may never have imagined.
Initially I felt a degree of empathy with Nigel but as he began to mimic Matt (with shades of SWF) I became more uncomfortable with his fixation. McNeill did a good job of drawing the character further down a path of obsession and you knew that things were not going to end well for someone.
A solid police procedural story, plenty of unpleasant characters, a murder, a missing person, a predator and a stalker – plenty of intrigue to keep me reading.