Cara Hunter (Viking)
As the summer heat beats down on Oxford, a garden party is underway in the Fawley household. Between worrying over his heavily pregnant wife, and dodging ‘words’ from family members, he is called away when a university student comes forward to report a sexual assault. This time, he said, she said, takes on a whole new meaning – the accused is a woman, a department favourite at the height of her career and the victim is her male student, a six-foot rugby player.
As the investigation continues, it becomes harder and harder to prove one person’s versions of events over another… Meanwhile, a figure from the past is plotting against Fawley. Soon enough, the walls are closing in – can the team band together to save our favourite DI before it’s too late?
This is the fifth book in Cara Hunter’s DI Fawley series, and I was not disappointed. With a great cast memorable characters and twists and turns that take the investigation to unexpected places, Hunter creates a great crime thriller, once again.
Let’s start with the characters – Fawley’s his usual self, classically tortured and a little too smart for his own good. Alex and Adam don’t get to spend all that much time together in this novel, but the finale makes it all worth it. Somer clearly has something going on in her life but hasn’t yet opened up to anyone about it – I do wish we got to see a little more ‘behind the scenes’ this time around. Although we did get to hear more from Quinn, it’s great to see him slowly redeeming himself. We also get our first real glimpse into Assante’s family life, and, of course, we couldn’t go out without mentioning Everett – my favourite cat lady – the moral conscience of the team and Gislingham, “the one you’d want on the other end of the rope”.
One thing I really love about this series is they way they incorporate images of reports, podcasts, text messages and news briefings into the text. I’ll admit, it can be a little awkward to read on a kindle, but it does signal some exciting potential in the world of books: what if (with strides in kindle technology) Ebooks could become more interactive? In the meantime, the multimedia aspect really adds something unique to the series, it brings the reader into the investigation inviting us to look for the clues ourselves.
Finally, although a slightly warped presentation – Hunter does draw attention to discourses around consent and sexual assault. Asante says it himself “sexual assault isn’t about sex. It’s about power.” In genre fiction, there can be a tendency to reject important discussions around race, gender and sexuality for the sake of ‘escapism’, but this shows that you can still have discussions of important issues in genre fiction, even in a murder investigation.
I would like to thank the team at Viking for giving me a digital advanced reader’s copy via NetGalley for an unbiased review.