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Morley, Michael - 'Spider'
Paperback: 512 pages (May 2008) Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd ISBN: 0141031212

Jack King, an ex-FBI profiler, has moved to Italy with his wife and young son. He had a breakdown trying to capture a serial killer who operated in South Carolina in America and who had murdered 16 young women over a twenty-year period and was known as the Black River Killer or BRK.

For the past two years Jack and his wife Nancy have been running a hotel in Tuscany but Jack has never fully recovered from his breakdown. He is contacted by an old friend and colleague, a senior detective in Rome, who wants his help on a murder case with exact similarities to the BRK murders. At the same time an ex-colleague in New York contacts him because BRK's first victim has been exhumed from her grave and the body has been decapitated. The severed head arrives at the FBI marked for Jack's attention.

Switching between Tuscany, Rome and New York it features several Italian and American police officers as well as Jack and his family, and the serial killer and his victim. It makes the first part of the book difficult to identify with Jack and his dilemma. There was also a brief passage, where the young attractive Italian policewoman is attracted to Jack, which is straight out of a 'Mills & Boon' romance.

However the last part of the book makes up for any shortcomings and is very exciting. Some of the technical details, whilst possible, do seem incredible, but Mr Morley draws well on his television background in this, his first novel. There maybe some confusion in the future as another ex-media star with a similar sounding name, Michael Molloy, has also written thrillers, though more recently he's turned to children's fiction. We know that there is another Jack King novel being written and due in 2009 and this could well become a best-selling series.

Geoff Jones, England
June 2008

More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 27/06/2008 14:06