Nine Elms (2020) by Robert Bryndza

Kate Marshall was a detective with a promising career ahead of her until she made a terrible mistake – she let a serial killer into her house. Despite catching the notorious Nine Elms killer, her career in the police force was over.

Fifteen years later, and Kate has left London and  established a career as a university criminology lecturer. Her new life is turned upside down when a murder with a startling similarity to the first Nine Elms killing takes place, complete with a chunk of flesh bitten from the body…

Still here? OK, with the original killer safely (?) locked up, Kate and her assistant Tristan find themselves compelled to track down the copycat – or The Fan as he styles himself. But there could be much greater danger round the corner than just a copycat…

Robert Bryndza is a new name to me, but I got a nice email from the publisher of Nine Elms asking if I’d like to take part in the blog tour for this book, the start of a new series. Bryndza has already written six books in the Erika Foster series and based on the strengths of this book, I’ll certainly be taking a look at those in the future. I might skip his series of romantic comedies though – sorry, Robert.

It’s always interesting being part of a blog tour as you read other reviews from bloggers who you might not normally come across. It’s a brave publicist who dangles a thriller in front of a mystery reviewer, albeit one who’s partial to a bit of a thrill from time to time as first and foremost, it’s the plot that’s going to win it or lose it for me.

Character-wise, this works very well, especially on the side of the good guys. I liked Kate Marshall a lot – she’s an effective lead who has clearly gone through some (slightly extreme) trauma and is coping with it day to day, despite having a constant reminder of the killer. I was bothered a little by the master-criminal nature of the original killer – it would seem his story is going to be continuing along with Kate’s as the series progresses but given what happens in this one, I do wonder where that is going to go. I was more interested in the nature of the Fan, and there is some clever justification of his motivations, and some reasonable deductions from what has gone before in the book as to who he is. It’s not really an attempt at a fair-play mystery, hence the lack of Knoxometer for my regular readers, but there’s some real thought been put into just what might make someone want to emulate a serial killer.

Like some other thrillers that I’ve read recently – Thirteen and Twisted spring to mind – things get very excitable in the final stages, but it’s fair to say that the book had me absolutely gripped from the start. Bryndza’s writing style is compelling which (mostly) enables the reader to surf over the occasional wave of implausibility.

Definitely a superior entry into the genre – definitely worth a look if you’re a fan.

If you want to know where to buy it, then here’s the link: https://www.littlebrown.co.uk/titles/robert-bryndza/nine-elms/9780751572704/

And if you want to see what my fellow bloggers thought of it, then here are some directions:

3 comments

  1. Oh you’d be surprised at the romantic comedy books. Mainly funny but one of them has a really good story thread relating to identity theft and the misery it can create for the perfectly innocent. Obviously though a long way from Nine Elms goriness. To be honest you crime fiction readers have stolen a really good Rom-com writer, I fear Robert Bryndza is into crime writing for the long haul 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve just finished this book and agree with you that the ending was a little OTT. I liked the characters, though, particularly Kate – and thought that the plot was well developed. I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes next.

    Like

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