The Fourth Victim
by John Mead
The Fourth Victim
Whitechapel is being gentrified. The many green spaces of the area, which typify London as a capital city, give the illusion of peace, tranquility and clean air but are also places to find drug dealers, sexual encounters and murder.
Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula doesn’t dislike Inspector Matthew Merry but he has hardly set the world of the Murder Investigation Team East alight. And, it looks as if the inspector is already putting the death of the young female jogger, found in the park with her head bashed in, down to a mugging gone wrong. The victim deserves more. However, the inspector isn’t ruling anything out – the evidence will, eventually, lead him to an answer.
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This is the first book I’ve read by John Mead, and highly original it is too.
With your everyday whodunnit (or police procedural) as his core theme, he takes the reader right into the story. With the three killings early on, it’s up to the investigative team to find the killer – but, of course, it’s not going to be an open and shut case.
Mead does a great job at getting to the bottom of what makes certain characters tick; his own confession to being a people watcher makes that abundantly clear. The police team struggle with the daily norms of everyday life (problems at home, family issues, job prospects etc) which gives them credibility (although there is a tendency to focus a tad too much on the characters flaws outside of the case). We also see the intricate workings of a case in action, from the intense scrutiny of cases, the inevitable missed opportunities, dealing with grieving families, and the consistent need to be one step ahead of the perpetrators.
Add into that a suspect with a multiple personality disorder, and you have a swarm of characters vying for your attention. It is sometimes hard to keep track of who is thinking or speaking, as the flow of the text is choppy at best in parts. However, it offers an original take on a tried-and-trusted story-line.
Despite working out who was the dominant force behind the killings early on, it was interesting to see how the author brought it all together at the end. An interesting, satisfying and original story that kept me scrolling – if only to be proved right! 😉
If you enjoy a good whodunnit with an imaginative plot, then this is the book for you.
About the author
Born in the mid-fifties in East London, on part of the largest council estate ever built. I was the first pupil from my local secondary modern school to attend university.
I have travelled extensively during my life from America to Tibet. I enjoy going to the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that I am an avid ‘people watcher’ and love to find out about people, their lives, culture and history.
Many of the occurrences recounted and the characters found in my novels are based on real incidents and people I have come across. Although I have allowed myself a wide degree of poetic licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the killings that are depicted.
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