Now You See by Max Manning is an interesting crime thriller which offers a unique way of telling a DCI thriller. I really enjoyed it because of the varying perspectives, including that of the killer and the victims. This book sets a high standard for the DCI Dan Fenton series. Now You See by Max Manning will be published on 19 April by Wildfire at Headline publishing. I will be part of the blog tour with a Q&A with Max Manning on 18 April!
DCI Dan Fenton is the lead investigator in a case when a woman’s body is found with her throat slit, and a social media post follows the murder from I, Killer. The victim’s former boyfriend, Blake is desperate to understand what has happened to her and why, and ponders this with her sister, Leah. When another body shows up with a slit throat and more pictures on social media, the police know that they have their work cut out for them. The killer is expertly leaving no forensic evidence, but soon the attacks become more targeted and various characters begin acting suspiciously, so Blake, Leah and DCI Fenton decide to go undercover to solve the murders.
What I liked
Now You See is plotted like a typical crime thriller. However, with various perspectives being shown from Blake, Fenton, the killer and the victims, it makes for an interesting read. I enjoyed the killer’s narrative, as they speak in first person to the reader, as they do on social media when they post. This is an excellent tool to keep the reader engaged and Manning definitely understands his readers. The plot itself is excellent, and I particularly liked the conclusion and the reasons for the killer’s actions; it was a unique, intriguing look into the psyche of a killer.
I really liked certain characters, such as Blake, Leah, Ince and Vale, as they were all interesting with lots to tell. I would have liked to find out more about Vale than we get at times, but I liked her character as she was entranced by the psyche of the killer, much as the reader is. She’s a very relatable character and clearly wants to help. Leah is very much a bold, brassy woman and I particularly liked the way that she ended her part of the story, staying true to herself. Ince is a disgusting perverted man, but he is an interesting character to say the least, and his deception can be seen as excellent. Blake is the true hero of this story, and I almost wish that this series was continuing with him as the main character. Blake has been dealt a very difficult hand but has managed his own expectations of himself, and proved that he has still got the bravery his job requires.
What I didn’t like
I actually didn’t see much point in having both Fenton and Blake in this story; they may have been different characters discovering different parts of the puzzle, but their thoughts and voices were so similar that they often became conflated. I was often confused about who I was reading.
The only other thing I didn’t like was the treatment of Leah; bold, bolchy woman asks two men to investigate this case. I’m fairly sure that a character like her would have jumped at the opportunity to help with the investigation, and keeping her and any female officer out of the investigation meant that the story was very male-focused, so I found it difficult to connect with either of the two main characters.
Overall, I really enjoyed the narrative and voices used in Now You See. Max Manning understands how to create a truly gripping plot, pulling the reader in at just the right moment so that you can’t not know what happened. I would recommend this book to any crime/thriller lovers, especially because it’s the first in a new series, which is always exciting! Thank you Phoebe Swinburn at Headline for my proof copy of Now You See by Max Manning.