“Often even a whole city suffers for a bad man who sins and contrives presumptuous deeds.” — Hesiod
With Christmas just around the corner, and in keeping with last month’s festive theme, my book choice this month centres around the approaching holiday season. However, as the title suggests, this isn’t a cosy Christmas tale but rather a criminally good one by local (to me) best-selling author Ross Greenwood.
Set in Peterborough, this is the sixth book in the DI John Barton detective series. It is also the last in the series but the first for me. However, although I am looking forward to reading the rest of the DI Barton collection (now added to my ever-growing TBR pile!), I’m pleased to say The Santa Killer works perfectly well as a standalone.
Narrated by two main characters, namely DI Barton and the unknown assailant, the story opens a couple of weeks before Christmas. A woman is violently assaulted outside her front door, followed several days later by another assault on another woman in a similar fashion. The common theme being, both women are attacked by someone dressed up as Santa. DI Barton – a large, likeable, family loving man who enjoys his food – and his team are determined to catch the dangerous perpetrator. Nonetheless, with no apparent motive for the attacks, and no real clues, DI Barton and his colleagues certainly have their work cut out.
With a rich cast of believable, flawed, and well-rounded characters, set amongst the diverse streets of Peterborough, The Santa Killer is a suspenseful mystery that sensitively explores themes like grief, loss and abandonment, highlighting the very real lack of help often needed for those members of society struggling with such issues. However, it is also a gritty crime thriller that will see you glancing over your shoulder with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing right up to the very end.
If you’d like to know more about the author, click here to read an interview I did with Ross in 2018.