The Killing Room

The Killing Room
Richard Montanari
Reviewed by Chris High
William Heinemann
Thu, 16/02/2012
9780434018932
£12.99

This seventh outing for Philadelphia Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano is absolutely everything you would expect from a Richard Montanari novel.

Terrific tension, superb prose, a credible yet manifestly dark plotline and an enthralling, enrapturing pace all add up to what is sure to be one of the crime novels of the year.
 
In the heart of Philadelphia's badlands, Homicide Detectives Byrne and Balzano are called out to a particularly chilling crime scene. Once the pillar of the neighbourhood, an abandoned church has become a killing room. At first it looks like a random act of violence. But then a second body is found, and a third. Each crime scene more disturbing than the last, each murder more brutal. And it soon becomes horrifyingly clear that a cold, calculating and terrifyingly precise mind is at work.With very few leads, and a mastermind who always seems to be one step ahead, Byrne and Balzano are faced with challenges they could never have imagined.
 
An author who has earned from critics and peers such as Tess Gerritsen alike, Montanari has once again nailed exactly what it is that encapsulates the great crime fiction novel. Yet is the two central protagonists who shine above all else, thanks to the fact that cease being players on a printed page and, instead, evolve into three-dimensional, walking, talking people before the reader’s mind’s eye with such beauty and clarity it is a delight to witness. 
 
It it is the subtlety of the authors touch – even when describing the most hideous or heart-wrenching moments, of which there are many in The Killing Room – that truly mark  Richard Montanari down as one of the finest exponents currently working in the genre and, thus, encourages the pages to fly over.
 
A breath taking read that is guaranteed to have those who read it quivering in anticipation of the duo’s next outing.

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