Riverrun | May 2019 | 480 pgs
Although this is the second installment of DS Alexandra Cupidi series, I'd think this counts as the third since the main character in The Birdwatcher (presumably the prequel?), appeared in this book as a supporting character. As with the previous book (Salt Lane), I enjoyed this book immensely and I'm glad to report I've added William Shaw as one of my favourite authors.
The book opens with 17-year-olds Benjamin and Joseph (also known as Tap and Sloth respectively) stealing two mobile phones from a bloke whom they assumed is harmless. It turns out that the man is dangerous and that the phones hold a significant deal which he couldn't miss. Now he is on the trail of the two boys and he'd do anything to get his phones back, even if it means murder.
On the other end, DS Alexandra Cupidi and her partner, Constable Jill Ferrier, are called to an investigation involving a severed arm which was stuffed inside an art exhibit at a Margate art gallery. Cupidi couldn't find any clues as to pointing it as a homicide case; and although she couldn't understand the artworld and how they view the artworks, she couldn't dismiss the thought that something is very wrong behind that particular artwork! As Cupidi and Jill continue digging for more information, they find themselves loaded with more questions than answers. Who does that arm belongs to and is the owner dead or alive? And what's the reason behind for putting that arm into an artwork?
What seemed like two different cases in this book is actually one whole picture pieced beautifully by the author's superb writing style and his brilliant storytelling. As with the first installment, I found myself immersed in this story full of intrigue and suspense, yet there's a dose of heartwarming scenes as well as I was moved by the friendship between Tap and Sloth. Both of them are so different from each other in terms of personality and race, but their family status and the misfit they face in school drew them together and become tight friends.
Another factor which drew me to this series is the professional partnership between Cupidi and Jill. I've learnt quite a few things about Cupidi in the first installment; and this book allows me to take a deeper look about her relationship with her 17-year-old daughter (Cupidi is a single parent) and a part of Jill's personal life and thoughts as well.
Despite the two different story directions and the two sets of characterisation, I've to say both are equally engaging and well executed. In some cases when such circumstances happen in the books we read, we more or less favour a certain character or setting more than the other but in this case I can't pick a favourite and this shows how much I enjoyed this book (series). Highly recommended to all fans of suspense and thrillers.
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