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Pearson, Mark - 'Murder Club'
Paperback: 384 pages (Oct. 2011) Publisher: Arrow ISBN: 0099550881

What a difference twelve months can make for DI Jack Delaney of the Metropolitan Police. One December sees him on a self-destructive alcoholic binge; the following year he is about to celebrate Christmas with his young daughter Siobhan and his new partner Kate. But in the meantime there have been suicides and accidents that may not be what they appear. A rapist stands trial and Jack hopes to put him behind bars. But in her testimony, the rapist's victim claims that Jack primed the identification by showing her a photograph of the accused. The rapist walks free and issues Jack with a civil writ. Meanwhile a decades old corpse with a bullet hole in its skull is unearthed in a local churchyard. And there is the mystery of the true identity of the street alcoholic known as Bible Steve. Who beat him? And who is the girl he claims to have killed?

MURDER CLUB is the fourth Jack Delaney title by Mark Pearson and explores the dark crime of rape as well as the reality of life for the homeless on the streets of London. I admit that it is the only book in the Delaney series that I have read and it may be that I would have done better to read an earlier book first as I found it hard to get into the narrative flow. Perhaps this was due to being unfamiliar with characters already established in the other books. But in MURDER CLUB Mark Pearson uses a technique of opening the book with short chapters, each of which tends to detail a new incident or character. Whilst this is a punchy way of writing, it did overwhelm me a bit with characters and situations and it was a while before I could feel the main plot-lines coming together. There are also some story-lines that remain independent. Sadly, these techniques seemed to keep me uninvolved with the main characters and at a distance from the plot.

Mark Pearson is a successful scriptwriter for such TV series as Holby City and The Bill which might be the key to the structure of this book, filling it with characters and sub-plots. Readers who have enjoyed Pearson's previous books and the fiery DI Jack Delaney will enjoy the pace and suspense of MURDER CLUB. For me however, MURDER CLUB was not a successful read.

Lynn Harvey, England
December 2011

Lynn blogs at
Little Grey Doll.

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 8/12/2011 15:05