Source: Review copy
Publication: 1st November in e-book; 4 January 2020 in hardback from Sphere
Kate Marshall was a promising young police detective when she caught the notorious Nine Elms serial killer. But her greatest victory suddenly became a nightmare.
Fifteen years after those catastrophic, career-ending events, a copycat killer has taken up the Nine Elms mantle, continuing the ghastly work of his idol.
Enlisting her brilliant research assistant, Tristan Harper, Kate draws on her prodigious and long-neglected skills as an investigator to catch a new monster. But there’s much more than her reputation on the line: Kate was the original killer’s intended fifth victim . . . and his successor means to finish the job.
A new Robert Bryndza book is always something to look forward to. A whole new series is a cause for celebration. Nine Elms is the first in a new series involving Kate Marshall, former Detective Constable now lecturer in Criminology in Ashdean, Devon.
Nine Elms opens with D.C. Kate Marshall discovering in the worst way possible the identity of a particularly vicious and depraved serial killer that the police have been hunting. Though she is credited with revealing the killer’s identity and bringing him to trial, Kate’s career suffered irretrievable damage in the process and she almost died. Since then she has been living a quiet, rural existence on her own.
We then fast forward to 2010, the present day. Kate is now lecturing and including details of the Nine Elms killer in her course. Though she would love to forget all about him, his name is inextricably linked with hers and she is working hard to face that and to come to terms with it. The killer is serving a life sentence in maximum security, but Kate has other reasons to worry about his existence.
Kate receives a letter from a couple who believe their daughter was also a victim of the Nine Elms killer but whose body has never been found. Malcom Murray and his wife Elaine want to put their daughter Caitlyn to rest and finally be able to grieve for her – and they are asking Kate to help find her.
Though she really doesn’t want to do it, Kate still feels the responsibility of her last case on her shoulders and she agrees to help, though she can promise nothing. Soon afterwards she receives another call for help; this time from her friend, forensic pathologist Alan Hexham. It isn’t long before it becomes clear that there is a copycat Nine Elms killer and this one is signing himself ‘A Fan’.
Kate draws in her University teaching assistant, Tristan to help her investigate Caitlyn’s disappearance and soon the pair find that their enquiries are also crossing the police investigations into the copycat killer.
The action heats up and soon the pair are in a deadly race to catch a loathsome killer.
Nine Elms is a vivid, visceral read with lots of excitement, plenty of great plot manoeuvres and strong characterisation. Told from a number of perspectives, the reader is able to hear at first-hand what is going through the minds of the protagonists and the antagonists in a thrilling and propulsive plot which hooks you in from the beginning and never loses any of its drive.
It’s violent in a gory way but it is also tense and sharp, constantly keeping the reader on their toes as events tumble around Kate and Tristan.
Verdict: Sharp as razor wire and as taut as a steel tightrope, this is a cracking thriller. It’s fast, it’s furious and it’s unputdownable. Nine Elms is another excellent success from Robert Bryndza. I’m hooked. Sign me up for the whole series. When is the next one, please?
Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestseller The Girl in the Ice. The Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller is the first book in the Detective Erika Foster series. The Night Stalker, Dark Water and Last Breath are the second, third, and fourth books in the series, and the fifth book is Cold Blood.
Robert’s books have sold over 2 million copies, and have been translated into 27 languages. In addition to writing crime fiction, Robert has published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels. He is British and lives in Slovakia.