A Room Full of Killers– A DCI Matilda Darke Novel by Michael Wood, 373 Pages, Killer Reads, February 17th 2017, Genre: Urban Life/ Mystery. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.
Review by Leigh Holland.
“Criminals are made, not born”. Investigators found that sign hanging from the Kehoe Farm’s fence when they arrived to check out the scene. Although this book isn’t about the Bath School Disaster or Andrew Kehoe, it forces the reader to explore the question: why do people commit murder? Are they born with something inside them that destines them to kill? Or do circumstances break them down into a monstrous, angry shell, capable of the worst crimes imaginable?
DCI Matilda Darke is back in this third installment of the series. This book can be read as a stand alone. Matilda and her dedicated team are called to Starling House, a prison for underage boys who’ve committed murder. One of the inmates has been murdered and they race against the clock to discover the identity of the killer and the reasons for the killing before the murderer claims another victim. At the same time, Matilda must keep a low profile while trying to re-investigate the case of one of the boys- a boy she believes is innocent. The book intersperses the stories of each boy’s crime between the main plot of the novel. While all of these tales evoke horror, there are a couple of them that evoke sympathy as well. The boy claiming innocence is one such story. Another is the story of the boy subjected to abuse and abandonment by both parents. When he snaps and murders them, it’s horrifying, but I understand why he did what he did. Each story is unique; each story forced me to reconsider my position and think about it from a variety of perspectives.
I liked the protagonist and her crew. The characters were complex- both cops and criminals. The plot was excellent and it wasn’t until very close to the reveal that I began to figure out the solution. The subplot was as fascinating to me as the main plot, providing a nice juxtaposition between punishment for the guilty and justice for the innocent. The style kept me engaged. The timing of events flowed well. I’d recommend this book to lovers of police procedurals and mysteries.
This book can be found at A Room Full of Killers.