A woman’s body has been found on the moors of Northumberland, brutally murdered and dismembered. Northumbria police enlist the help of unconventional psychologist Jon Atherton, a decision complicated by his personal history with lead investigator Detective Sergeant Kate Prejean.
As Christmas approaches and pressure mounts on the force, Prejean and Atherton’s personal lives begin to unravel as they find themselves the focus of media attention, and that of the killer known only as Son Of Geb.
Lord of the Dead by Richard Rippon is the first book to be published by new indie publisher Obliterati Press and, I hope, heralds the start of a new crime series.
When a dismembered body is found in Northumberland, psychologist Jon Atherton is enlisted by Northumbria police to assist them in their murder enquiry. With the added complication of an historical affair between Atherton and DS Kate Prejean, the tension quickly mounts in Lord of the Dead.
What I liked about Lord of the Dead is that it is a crime novel that comes from a different perspective rather than that of your usual police procedural. In this case it is the psychologist who is brought on board to provide the police with a profile of the killer. I think we all want to get inside the heads of killers and understands what drives their actions, so the fact that Rippon has taken the psychologist’s perspective ensures that readers will be intrigued and the plot is less formulaic.
Main character Atherton has a few of the characteristics you would expect to see in the detective in a crime novel – his marriage is on the rocks, he spends far too much time at work and he has a propensity to drink to much – but there is something inherently likeable about Rippon’s character. The fact that he has cerebral palsy is interesting and I would love to know why Rippon included this. It’s not something you often see in crime novel and I love the fact that Rippon has done this. It adds another depth to Atherton’s character and yet it never detracts from the part he plays throughout Lord of the Dead. Rippon has created strong, believable characters that you get behind and want to see again after you have finished the book. The characters that surround Atherton each have their unique attributes and they are all perfectly placed and add to the enjoyment of the book.
The pacing in Lord of the Dead is spot on. Rippon’s prose is precise and yet descriptive and he drives the story forward ensuring that you want to keep turning the pages. I found myself gripped from the outset and enjoyed returning to the book following periods in which I had been doing other stuff.
One of the reasons I found myself wanting to return to the book was the unique way in which the killer arranges his victims and the reasoning behind them. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I will say that it was interesting, something I haven’t seen before and clearly closely researched by Rippon.
A great addition to the crime genre, Lord of the Dead is well written, refreshingly different and highly recommended for fans of crime thrillers. Rippon has ended the book in such a way that it suggests Lord of the Dead is the first in a series, and I really hope this is the case.
Lord Of The Dead was published on 3 November 2017 by Obliterati Press and you can grab a copy HERE.
My thanks go to Nathan O’Hagan at Obliterati Press for my copy in exchange for my review.