Friday, May 30, 2014

The Black Country

by Alex Grecian
384 pgs  (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad #2)

Alex Grecians returns with The Black Country, the second book featuring Inspector Day and the Scotland Yard "Murder Squad." I thought his first book, The Yard, was great, and I was really looking forward to this one. And while it's a good book, I thought it represented was a little bit of a sophomore slump.

This time around Day, Hammersmith, and Dr. Kingsley find themselves in the Scottish highlands, where a father, mother, and young child have gone missing from a small coal-mining town. When they arrive and begin questioning the three remaining children in the family, as well as others in the town, they're given strangely elusive answers from each.

As they try to solve the mystery of the disappearances, they also have to deal with a strange sickness that has been plaguing the town, the repeated earthquake-like tremors that occur as the whole town slowly falls into the labyrinth of coal-mining tunnels below it, and a horribly disfigured gunman--who has been hunting one of the town's new residents since the American Civil War.

The Black Country is an enjoyable book, but it lacked some of the elements its predecessor possessed that made it such a great one. Dr. Kingsley's role is frustratingly limited, and he never displays any of his groundbreaking forensic techniques and methods to assist Day and Hammersmith in their investigation. I'm hopeful that Grecian brings things back in order in The Devil's Workshop, which was just released this month.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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