I am a complete numpty.
Here I was all proud of having written and reviewed a full two months worth of blog tour posts in advance and I scheduled this post on the 28th instead of the 26th! Cue maximum embarrassment and self-deprecation. A huge thanks to Anne Carter and No Exit Press for their kindness and understanding with my mistake – because I absolutely adored this book and am still beyond stoked to be taking part in the tour.
Title: Rogue Killer
Author: Leigh Russell
Publisher: No Exit Press
Publication Date: 21 March 2019
Genre: Fiction, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Mystery, Thriller
Themes: Serial Killers, Crime, Family, Friendships, Power Dynamics
My Rating: 5/ 5
WHEN THE TARGETS ARE RANDOM, YOU COULD BE NEXT
A man is killed in an apparently random attack, and suspicion falls on a gang of muggers. Only Detective Sergeant Geraldine Steel thinks this is the work of a more deliberate murderer.
Two more victims are discovered, after further seemingly indiscriminate attacks, and this time the muggers have a concrete alibi. All the while the killer remains at large. When Geraldine finally manages to track down a witness, she finds her own life is in danger…
Today, despite my scheduling snafu, I have the absolute pleasure of taking part in the blog tour for Leigh Russell’s latest instalment in the Geraldine Steel series Rogue Killer. It’s deep, dark, and foolishly dangerous – exactly how I like my crime thrillers! It’s chalk full with a mysterious and unpredictable serial killer, a series of averting crimes and suspects, and a copper who’s willing to put her life and career on the line to get the job done. Trust me, this is a rather exciting read!
And for those that haven’t read the entire Geraldine Steel series, please don’t shy away. This baby reads as an excellent stand alone novel with just enough back story speckled throughout to keep you in the loop, but not so much as to feel redundant for those that have been with Geraldine throughout her career. I felt instantly at home with the cast of characters and the power dynamics, and honestly felt like I was being sucked comfortably into a police drama on TV.
I mean, you’ve got to love a cop who’s been demoted and feels like they have nothing left to loose. The result is Geraldine, our plucky heroine who gave up on a promising career to save her sister, yet remains unwaveringly dedicated to her work as a homicide detective – just with a little less regard for the rules. Bring on actually acting on those gut feelings, some seriously brash choices, and a ridiculous willingness to chase down leads out of hours and in the absence of back-up. Now add in a dash of emotional detachment, some unrequited feelings, and a touch of social awkwardness and you have more drama to carry you happily through the slower bits of an investigation.
This is all complemented by fractured perspectives with the bulk of the investigation broken up with insights into our gag of muggers and glimpses into the killers mind. The juxtaposition of these scenes against the waiting game that investigations can turn into created a twisty, dynamic, and ever-changing landscape. There was just enough in the way of choice details and leading bits of evidence to have me guessing at all of the wrong suspects right up until the very end.
And despite some less than savoury personalities and poor choices, I felt bad for all of the victims who approached the police with their concerns about the murders, muggings, and uneasy feelings to no avail. Especially young Daryl, trapped between a rock and a hard place, or rather between poverty and his sociopathic ring of friends. But sympathy aside, these healthy doses of reality to ground the story in a place of reality and reliability – no matter how uncomfortable some situations might make you feel.
I felt too, the frustration of both Geraldine and the police department as the murders and muggings continued on for so long without resolution. Especially given the massive media interest that such cases can generate and the underlying knowledge that there is no evidence to move forward with. But more than anything, I empathized with Geraldine’s frustration towards her colleagues and superiors as they put the blinders on and pursued a single solution instead of investigating the situation from as many angles as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the desire to wrap everything up with a single, neat solution but it was endlessly irritating to see possibility after possibility dismissed because it didn’t meet the perfect idea of what the solution should be.
Finally, I really enjoyed the interplay between Ian and Geraldine. Both of them clueless, both of them awkward, and altogether they created the injection of humour into a situation that seemed impossible to overcome. I mean, who hasn’t misinterpreted someone’s intentions or made assumptions about their relationship with a colleague from time to time? Their relationship was so real that it hurt to read! I can’t wait to see where they go next, as I’m sure there’s more to come for Geraldine Steel.
Would I recommend this book? Heck yes! In fact, I would recommend the entire series. Rogue Killer is wonderfully written, exciting, and utterly realistic. It’s full of twists and turns, dead-end leads, and relatable characters.
If you like strong female leads and stellar crime fiction, this baby is sure to please!
About The Author
Leigh Russell is the author of the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series: Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi, Class Murder and Death Rope. The series has sold over a million copies worldwide. Cut Short was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA) John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes with Stop Dead and Murder Ring selected as finalists for The People’s Book Prize. Leigh is chair of the CWA’s Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal Literary Fellow. Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a granddaughter, and lives in London.
Many thanks to Anne Carter for inviting me to join in this tour, and to Leigh Russell and No Exit Press and for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.