Monday 13 June 2022

The Career Killer - Ali Gunn - DCI Mabey Book 1

The Career Killer
DCI Mabey Book 1
Gripping Twist Press
ISBN 9781689328562

This is a good debut novel from the pen of Ali Gunn. I received a copy of this book a couple of years ago but did not get around to reading it. It got lost in the pile of books on my eReader. I decided to slow down my new purchases and go back and read all the ARC’s (Advance Reader Copies), review copies and purchased books. I am currently only allowing myself to but a new book if it is from a specific list of authors, or after I have read at least 2 in my back catalog. This book was the first in that effort. And it was a good first read from that back list.

The description of this story is:

“A public body dump, an invisible killer.

When young women are murdered and their bodies posed like marionettes in tourist hotspots around London without a single witness seeing the killer come and go, the case ought to go to a detective with decades of experience investigating serial murder.

Instead, newbie DCI Elsie Mabey lands the case, bringing with her a ragtag team of misfits and rejects. Rather than the Met’s finest, they’re the “not quite fired” of London policing.

She faces an impossible task: finding an invisible killer while fighting her own invisible illness.”

DCI Elsie Mabey of the Metropolitan Police in London was just promoted and her new team at first seems to be a group of misfits. 

“After a hotly contested appointment process, command of Murder Investigation Team 18 was hers and with it came the large office she now found herself in. The room was in dire need of redecoration. For now, it housed a splintered old desk, three battered chairs, and several boxes of the outgoing DCI’s personal belongings which still hadn’t been taken away. If he didn’t collect them soon, she’d bin the lot.”

But it might not just be a crumby office she has landed in. Her team is comprised of:

Detective Inspector Sebastian “Seb” Stryker
Detective Sergeant Georgia Matthews
Detective Sergeant Patricia Knox

Knox believes the job should be hers. Matthews trained under Knox and has a certain loyalty and is newer to the force. And Stryker is well intentioned but has just transferred to Scotland Yard from up north where he worked drugs. They work the night shift so any calls that come in between 6pm and 6am land on their desk. And a doozie of a case arrives the day the team meets. The call coming in at 6:03 making it their problem. A body found on a park bench near a church, posed in a wedding dress and a knife sticking out from the heart.

As they investigate, they realize there are similarities to another case. But the lead investigator on that one has no time for it. Is overtly racist and sexist. Knox gets pulled into a stick with her old team. Stryker messed up. And Matthews, … well you will need to read the story to find out what happens to her.

As a debut novel it was impressive. I believe the story could have been slimmed down a bit. Especially Knox’s work on a trafficking case. Unless it is being used to set up something in book 2, The Psychopath Within. Otherwise it was a pretty longwinded way for Mabey to come to appreciate Knox more.

I read a lot of crime novels 24-35 years ago. Back then it was mostly Robert B Parker. Recently I read all the Jack Reacher Novels by Lee and Andrew Child, and Hunt for Reacher by Diane Capri. I have been reading Andrew Grants Standalone works. And I love the British crime novels of Alex Smith’s DCI Kett novels and JE Mayhew’s DCI Will Blake Series. And have been enjoying J.D. Kirk’s Scottish Crime novels. I would not put this work on that level, yet! As a debut novel it was impressive. I would not hesitate to pick up the next in the series. And with another half dozen novels under her belt she easily make he way into my favorites listed above.

A good first effort and one that leave you wondering where the story will go next. Well worth the read for fans of British Crime Procedurals.

Books by Ali Gunn:
The Grifter

DCI Maybe Series:
The Psychopath Within

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