The Domino Killer – Neil White
When a man is found beaten to death in a local Manchester park, Detective Constable Sam Parker is one of the investigating officers. Sam swiftly identifies the victim, but what at first looks like an open and shut case quickly starts to unravel when he realises that the victim’s fingerprints were found on a knife at another crime scene, a month earlier.
Meanwhile, Sam’s brother, Joe – a criminal defence lawyer in the city – comes face to face with a man whose very presence sends shockwaves through his life. Joe must confront the demons of his past as he struggles to come to terms with the darkness that this man represents.
Before long, Joe and Sam are in way over their heads, both sucked into a terrifying game of cat-and-mouse that threatens to change their lives for ever…
My thanks to Little, Brown UK who provided a review copy through Netgalley
The Domino Killer was my first introduction to Neil White’s books. The two central characters, Sam and Joe Parker, had clearly featured in previous books so the first question I have to address is “Does not knowing the back-story create any problems?” The answer would seem to be NO. I suspect that there are several elements which will reward returning readers that (as a new reader) I totally failed to grasp the significance of. However, as an introduction to the Parker brothers I found The Domino Killer to be a great read – important events and incidents from previous novels were explained (or discussed in such a way that I never got confused with the latest developments.
The book opens with a particularly nasty murder. In a lonely park on a dark evening a man is beaten to death, he dies clutching a bunch of flowers. An illicit rendezvous gone wrong perhaps? The police investigate but not much progress is being made. However, all this will change when a second murder is committed and the two deaths are found to be linked in the most unexpected of ways.
Meanwhile lawyer, Joe Parker, is called out late to meet a new client, a man who is accused of stealing and then torching his own car. What seems a routine client call is about to send Joe’s world into chaos – although he has never previously met his client he knows who he is as the two men are bound by a single event, one which has shaped Joe’s whole life.
The Domino Killer is a captivating read and the villain of the piece is one of the nastier characters I have encountered in recent reads. I enjoyed the fact the two Parker brothers adopt very different approaches to counter the perceived threat they feel they face. Sam, the policeman, follows procedure and acts within the confines of the law. His brother, Joe, is a defence lawyer – however, Joe has a secret that has haunted him for many a year and the Domino Killer knows this. Joe finds himself confronting a demon from his past and he is prepared to sacrifice friendships and his career to put the ghosts of his past to rest.
Neil White writes with an easy, entertaining and very readable style. The action ticks along at a great pace and I found I wanted to keep reading long after I should have been setting the book down. Although I only finished The Domino Killer within the last week or so I have already picked up a couple of Neil’s earlier books to add to my TBR pile.
The Domino Killer is published by Little, Brown UK Ltd and is available from 30th July in both hardback and digital formats.
Neil White is on Twitter: @neilwhite1965
He also has a wee corner of the internet at: http://www.neilwhite.net/