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by Casey Hill, read by Caroline Lennon
Whole Story Audio Books, November 2012
Unabridged pages
25.52 GBP
ISBN: 1471207013

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

A journalist is found dead in a septic tank. A former cop is bumped off in a bath of ice. Dublin police are faced with a serial killer and one with a very unusual classical education.

TORN is perfectly serviceable serial killer fare. The plotting is sound and the story ticks over nicely. There are a number of occasions, though, where you may find yourself shouting at the pages/audiobook when the plods seem to miss obvious angles. One particular find never seemed to be followed up, despite its clear significance.

The main problem with TORN is the characters. I may be overly cynical, but I don't read crime novels set in Europe and cast a salty tear over the absence of an American hero. I assume, though, that writers have a beady eye cast on the US market and assume their books will never sell there unless we have a heroic Yank on the scene.

So I find myself faintly underwhelmed by Reilly Steel, the former FBI agent, now an investigator with the Garda Forensic Unit in Dublin. She is of course gorgeous, intelligent, has glossy hair and legs up to her armpits and the requisite tangled past. She is also dull as ditchwater. There's clearly a book before TORN, but what backstory we do get about Reilly doesn't particularly persuade me to go and look for it.

The rest of the cast don't fare too well either. Coppers Chris Delaney and Pete Kennedy are Mr Enigmatic and Mr Rough Diamond respectively and both are fairly one-dimensional. Their boss shouts a lot and makes no other impression. The requisite quirky profiler, shipped in from England, is so absurd and unbelievable as to be almost laughable. His case really isn't helped by dialogue so clunky it could do the reader a nasty mischief if it fell on them.

I found TORN written by Dublin-based husband and wife team Kevin and Melissa Hill - to be diverting enough listening, mainly because the leftfield plot had me intrigued (and I'm particularly difficult to please when it comes to serial killer books). Caroline Lennon's narration is brisk and competent, albeit a touch shrill on the high notes. But in the end, much as I wanted to find out what happened, the characters never hooked me and I was left with no feel for Dublin or Ireland. The book could have taken place anywhere. But if the writers have got an eye on a film deal or US sales, maybe that's what they wanted.

Sharon Wheeler is a UK-based journalist, writer and lecturer.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, April 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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