Happy belated book birthday to The Art of Death by David Fennell Thank you Zaffer Books for sending me a physical ARC for free in exchange for an honest review.
If it wasn’t for my body pulling massive strop, I would have read this book in one sitting which I did the second time I read it. My review is slightly late as I loved this book so much, it needed my full attention and I was just as impressed the second time I read it. I enjoyed The Art of Death and David’s imaginative take on the serial killer genre. I blame doing research for Hey Spooks but I loved this dark tale with a twisted killer with a perverse view to what constitutes art.
This book starts with a bang and hooks you in from the get-go. Starts with a bang I hear you cry everyone says that but with this book I mean it. Three people turned into "living" works of art think Damien Hirst but none consenting people. As more bodies and exhibits pop up all over the city Grace certainly has her hands full trying to catch a ruthless and highly intelligent killer.
This is mainly told from newly-promoted DI Grace Archer’s point of view but there are sections on the victims’ lives in the lead up to their deaths and the odd thought and action from the unnamed killer. Little awkward hiccup cause why wouldn’t there be Grace got her promotion by stepping into the shoes of a superior officer who she just happened to expose as a corrupt officer.
I must admit that even my stone heart sank when I read Grace’s backstory as it's busy, full of trauma and designed to provoke the fundamental plot of this book. Grace is a believable and relatable character and her new partnership with DS Harry Quinn is brilliantly played out.
The only thing I would like to mention is it is very worrying how easily the killer lures his victims in, through social media and dating apps. I’m in two minds about it because if you’re about to call it out for being unrealistic you’re going to be a little upset how many times this has happened in the modern-day. Even looking back, you have serial killers who used the lonely-hearts column to find their victims (Cough Cough Nanny Doss). Whereas at the same time I’m like boo come one it’s a trap.
The book was written so well, I often felt like I was watching it all play out around me; which was enticing. The writing style was punchy, with twist and turns the intensity and suspense builds while Archer and Quinn desperately try to stop the murders. The premise of the book just fascinated me, and it was even better than I thought possible from the blurb. The book jump from crime scene to crime scene effortlessly, and this is probably the reason I couldn’t put this book down as I was afraid; I’d miss something. I liked the investigation, which was believable as it could be when constantly having to react to unknown and didn’t at all feel like an information dump.
Overall a great inventive story with a well thought out and written plot. I hope that this book ends up being part of a series that follows Archer and Quinn I’m not done with them yet I want more (Please - just in case David reads this review).