05/28/2024

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The Kill List (D.I. Anjelica Henley #3) by Nadine Matheson @nadinematheson @HQstories

The Kill List (D.I. Anjelica Henley #3) by Nadine Matheson @nadinematheson @HQstories

Source: Review copy
Publication: 9 May 2024 from HQ
PP: 432
ISBN-13: 978-0008548438

My thanks to HQ for an advance copy for review

He will come for them, one by one…

Five shocking murders

Twenty-five years ago, DCI Harry Rhimes arrested Andrew Streeter for the brutal murders of five young people. Streeter’s ‘kill list’ of victims was found in his home, and he was convicted of all five crimes.

A legacy under threat

Now, Streeter’s convictions are being overturned, as new evidence implies the original investigation was corrupt. No one is more shocked that DI Henley. Because this case is personal; Rhimes was her old boss, and he’s no longer alive to defend himself. But when the killings start up again, Henley must face the truth: Rhimes got it wrong twenty-five years ago.

A hunt for a killer

Henley and her team reopen the original murder cases, but they must put their personal feelings to one side. Because the real killer is still out there, and he’s working his way through a new kill list …

The Kill List is the third book in the D.I. Anjelica Henley of the Serial Crimes Unit, Met Police and I have enjoyed each one more than the last. Nadine Matheson writes dark police procedurals with a serial killer focus and her books are both thrilling and affecting.

But what makes them special is the very authentic way she combines the lives of this unit with their jobs. Avoiding most of the cop tropes, she manages to show us how the daily lives of those who make up the Serial Crimes Unit impact on their energy, focus and team spirit.

That team spirit is severely tested when a convicted serial killer has his conviction overturned on appeal and is released. Andrew Streeter was found guilty of murdering five people, one of whom was a childhood friend of Henley’s – so Streeter’s release has a very personal impact on her. More than that, though, the release has brought into question the status of the SCU’s former boss, the now deceased DCI Rhimes, whose actions are under investigation for corruption – something no-one in the team can believe.

In a straightforward Machiavellian act of political destruction, the team are forced into investigating their old boss’s actions, and the previous serial killer crimes, whilst at the same time investigating a new spate of similar and pretty gruesome murders. Their abilities are stretched, their resources are low; they are worried and their home lives are suffering.

How they survive is by being a close knit team and by supporting each other. Anjelica isn’t getting that support at home where her husband Rob is fed up being the parent who does all the household chores and hardly sees his wife unless it’s last thing at night.

Ramouter too, is struggling with his wife’s early onset dementia and the pressure of work on him means he doesn’t always handle things in the best way.

By giving her characters real lives, Matheson makes her characters authentic and all too human and while sometimes their actions may be flawed, you can see how the strain takes its toll and why they behave as they do.

Investigating a series of dark and really quite disturbing murders with such a strong personal connection to Henley makes her strained and tense. The added disbelief in Rhimes’ corruption means that this case is doubly personal for Anjelica. It’s not surprising that her defences are lowered when her boss and former lover, Steve Pellacio, goes out of his way to support her.

Then we have an unknown contributor to the information about these crimes. Someone is writing to a local journalist – the same journalist who made her name writing about the killer whom she dubbed ‘The Burier’ in the first series of serial killer crimes for which Streeter was convicted. And she is going to use that information to regain her place on the paper, which is now easing her out to make way for a younger, cheaper and well connected reporter.

You can feel the tension thrumming between these pages. Henley is stretched tight like a highly tuned fiddle string that you fear may spring loose at any moment. The pace is fast and the perpetrator deadly. As the team races to catch the killer and exonerate DCI Rhimes, the reader is racing to work out exactly who is responsible, which is just the way I like it!

Verdict: Dark, tension fuelled and pacy, this is a terrific read. More from D.I. Henley please!

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Nadine Matheson lives in London and is a criminal solicitor. In 2016, she won the City University Crime Writing Competition and completed the Creative Writing (Crime/Thrillers Novels) Master’s Degree with distinction in 2018. In 2019, Nadine signed with A.M. Heath Literary Agents and her debut crime fiction novel, The Jigsaw Man, was won by HQ (HarperCollins) in a six-publisher auction. The best-selling ‘The Jigsaw Man’ was published in 2021, has been translated into fifteen languages and has been optioned for television.