Plot: A badly burnt body shows up in the morgue and the assumption is suicide. Dragged out of reclusion by his assistant, Quirke isn’t sure. There is evidence to suggest foul play. This isn’t a suicide case: it’s a murder.
Discovering the identity of the killer and the motives behind the death force Quirke to confront his past. Past enemies return, ones who Quirke has always lost against. This time, Quirke’s own family is in danger and he knows neither backing down nor losing is an option. The truth must be uncovered, no matter the cost and whatever it takes.
Quote: “May I sit?” Quirke enquired. It was always the way: when Hackett started Syngeing, Quirke’s response was to turn into Oscar Wilde. Well, they were a pair, no doubt of that, though what they were a pair of, he wasn’t sure.
Opinion: I discovered once I had started reading that this is the next in a long series that follows Quirke and his adventures. Luckily, I was able to pick up enough to read this one as a stand-alone book. I now want to read the rest of the series – a sign there is something enjoyable and gripping about Black’s writing.
The plot is your straightforward murder case. A suspected-suicide-turned-murder and a hunt to find both the killer and the motivation behind the death. With the involvement of Quirke’s daughter and the drama occurring in his own personal life, it was engaging. Not the most thrilling novel I’ve come across and definitely followed a murder mystery formula, but engaging nonetheless.
The characters were strong. I felt those coming to the book as fans of the series will be able to judge any character development etc better than I can. But judging it on this book alone, I liked what I read. Quirke is a complicated man, and his inner demons and insecurities make him interesting to read about. What more do you need from a character as long as they hold your interest? He is presented in a flawed way and it is those flaws that have me intrigued about his backstory.
The book moved at a steady pace. No part felt rushed, but there was certainly no dawdling on the details. Again, I believe this is due to the fact this is a book from a series, so any backstory, character development etc has already been dealt with in previous books. The pacing worked though, for it helped to keep the suspense and tension present. The small amount of danger the characters were in helped to keep me gripped, for otherwise it might have struggled to hold my attention.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I wouldn’t rush back to read it again or tell everyone about it. There was no spark with it. However, it was an enjoyable book to be reading on the train. I would like to read the backstories to see how the characters got to this point, meaning the book definitely worked for me.