Spindler, Christine - Faces of Fear
Joy Canova is a psychiatrist who helps people conquer their phobias. Joy herself can relate as she has a phobia of water. Joy has other problems, her weekends are either spent in bed with a migraine or with a one night stand. Her life becomes more complicated when it seems her clients are being murdered, each by the very phobia they fear.
It begins with Alison, a young woman who has a phobia of bridges. Alison receives a threatening letter from 'Shadoe' who torments Alison with her fears. Joy suggests Alison ignore the letter but it's not long before Alison's body is found miles away, beneath a bridge in Oxford. As Alison's death could be put down to a drug induced accident, Joy does nothing. Only after a second client dies after receiving a letter from 'Shadoe', does Joy reluctantly help the police in the shape of Inspector Terry.
This is the second full length Inspector Terry novel and as with the first, RHYTHM OF REVENGE, I particularly liked the structure. The reader gets to know, in some depth, a whole cast of characters who are all linked, though it may not be obvious how initially. Together with the new characters there are appearances from a few old friends from the tap dancing troupe from the previous book. As well as the challenging investigation, Terry has to cope with changes in his life in the shape of some romance and a new boss who is also gay, but is extremely open about it, in contrast to Terry.
This is a twisting tale, the reader suspecting one person after another and the phobias are interesting, unusual and believable. The characters are very real and memorable and a pleasure to read about. I'm very fond of this series and I'm eagerly awaiting the next book. In the meantime I have the Inspector Terry novella in BLOOD, THREAT AND FEARS to enjoy.
One cautionary note, as this is a serial killer novel, there are one or two distressing scenes and includes references to some 'off screen' cat deaths.
Karen Meek, England