Top critical review
Too gory, too dark
November 3, 2019
This was my free choice for Kindle First reads for November. I passed up a historical novel about Italian resistance fighters against the Germans in WWII because I worried this might be too gruesome of a depiction of Nazi cruelties. I guess the joke was on me because I picked a story that was as gruesome, gory and dark as it can get. I love crime novels and I know a story about a cannibalistic serial killer won't be a light beach read, but Nine Elms went way too far for my taste. If you like blood and gore and a totally dark story, this book is for you. If you are like me and "suffer" through crime scene and post mortem descriptions in order to get to the "good" part - detectives working diligently to solve a crime, a real whodunit, with some light moments or humor here and there to lighten the mood, then you should pass on this one.
The victims' wounds are described in minute detail over and over, we aren't spared once by something like " the wounds were identical to the last three victims . " No, over and over we read the in depth description "the bite marks on the back were so deep, the spine was exposed" - although we got the picture after the second time at the latest. With the last victim we even got the first person account of the incredible pain when he bites through to her - yes - spine, until she blacks out and dies. Also - we are not just getting a deep first person insight into the mind of one, but THREE absolute deranged and despicable human beings,who work together and devise a plan so far fetched (and brutal), it all becomes too unbelievable.
And there is no reprieve, no lighthearted moment to give you a breather, it's dark and depressing and extremely gory nonstop, it got to the point where I started (halfway through the story) to skip pages and just skim through, to get to the end, to find out how/if the story ended.
The character development of the protagonists was lacking (since all the focus was on the sociopaths.) Granted, we learned a lot about Kate, 90% of which was depressing, but we learned next to nothing about her assistant Tristan who was the only light at the end of the tunnel but his character was almost an afterthought. Part 2 of this series has a release date already, so one would expect two strong characters that we care about, if we are supposed to be interested in their future adventures. We know so little about Tristan, I'm not even sure if he'll be back in book 2.
And - if Kate's comment about her son and a possible "bonding moment" (I'll leave it at that to avoid spoilers) is any kind of foreshadowing to what awaits us in book 2, I know 100% for sure I will pass on it, although I was 99% sure that I won't want to read another Kate Marshall story halfway through this one.
Disappointing - this could have been a great and suspenseful story if it wasn't so dark and ultimately unbelievable.