Rachel Lynch is a fascinatingly great crime writer. She understands the rules of the genre and how to break them to turn an average crime series into something interesting and different. Deep Fear, while not following Dark Game in its complete 180 from generic crime structure, struck me as unique in its form; Lynch has written a typical crime novel with some great elements to make it spectacular and almost beautiful in ways.
We are back with DI Kelly Porter as she attempts to solve the murder of a woman who has been left in a beautiful location with poetry within her body to symbolise why she was killed. As more turn up with similar symbolic elements, Porter realises that she is on to a serial killing psychopath. Looking for ‘The Teacher’ will be no easy feat. As Kelly embarks on this adventure, exploring a variety of literary-connected parts of the lake district, she gains insights into her own family life and what she could and would do if faced with a loved one in a bad situation.
What I liked…
I love Lynch’s narrative style; she understands her characters and their motives through and through; she is concise withe her descriptions, yet leaves sections to the imagination. No one character within her novels is ever one-dimensional. Kelly is as tough as ever in this tale, finding out what it means to be strong and fearless, as well as truly putting others before her. What struck me most, however, was the way Lynch seamlessly integrates the poetry, including must-see poet and author locations within the lakes which she has made me want to go and visit.
The use of the traditional crime structure made it easier for Lynch to develop the characters further, including Kelly’s family and their relationships. I found the story eerily credible and understood that the motivations of a psychotic killer are often contingent on a variety of factors. If Lynch had attempted to subvert as much as she did throughout Dark Game, it would not have worked. I feel that this story will pull in readers of Ian Rankin for that familiar criminal novel, then shock them with its many reveals.
What I didn’t like…
Honestly, I only didn’t like the pace at times. Yes, it is the epitome of a fast-paced crime novel. However, I struggled at times with some of the lengthy conversations and repetitiveness of the information, although I understand that this is how great crime novels are built.
Overall, I would recommend this series to anybody who loves crime, thriller and suspense fiction. You will need to have a good grasp on the first novel to understand what’s going on in this one. I believe that fans of great crime writers have a new series to get on board with with a sassy strong female in the lead. Thank you Ellie Pilcher at Canelo and NetGalley for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.