Breakneck Point (2022) by T Orr Munro

CSI Ally Dymond was CSI to the major investigations team, but when she refused to identify fake evidence in court, her career all but ended, being bounced down to work on petty crimes in North Devon. Refusing to quit, as her colleagues clearly want her to, she keeps working on minor crimes while balancing her family life – until the body of nineteen-year-old Janie Warren is found in Bidecombe and Ally is the only person with enough experience to deal with it.

The police are convinced that Janie’s boyfriend strangled her, but Ally thinks differently. Unfortunately nobody wants to listen to her – which is rather inconvenient given that there is a serial killer plaguing the area and she’s the only person who believes he even exists…

A 99p Twitter recommendation – I do want to read more new authors – but I’m very much divided on this one.

The pros, first off all. It starts off strongly with Ally providing her own downfall in court, and then introducing the characters, including the serial killer, who we know the identity of from a very early stage, with some sections giving us insight into his thought processes – more on that in a bit. There is believable behaviour for the most part, especially from a daughter who actually behaves like a human being rather than a plot point. The plot is gripping and I felt it was well-written.

The cons, though, are, as is often the case, personal to me. The serial killer insight starts off intriguingly, with some nice examples of low-level manipulation of his acquaintances to either get his own way or to basically just be a git. And then it gets nastier and nastier. Yes, I’m moaning about the behaviour of a serial killer, but there are two things even a fictional serial killer should be doing, at least not that I want to read about, and this includes one of them.

More importantly for me, and I need to be vague here, I was disappointed by the direction of Ally’s plot arc, which also needed too many people not to believe her, despite there being some evidence. At the end of the day, I felt that this was not a victory for the side of right. Fair enough, that’s the choice of the author, but it just made me feel a bit depressed at the end, rather than pleased that good had won out in the end. I like my heroes to win and this felt, at best, to be a draw…

So feel free to ignore me and listen to the reviewers on Amazon – at time of writing, 4.3/5 from 170 reviews. It’s a well-told tale, just not one that I enjoyed being told.

2 comments

  1. Does the problematic material relate to sexual abuse? At one point I figured I could read anything as it’s just text on a page, but there’s a fair bit of material – or more exactly how it’s handled – that just puts me off a story.

    Like

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