Book Review

Perfect Crime

It’s Halloween! I hope everyone has some fun plans for today. I’m going to be celebrating my first successful Blogtober challenge, where I made a blog post every single day of the month. Since I don’t really like to read scary books (or watch scary movies), I decided to review a psychological thriller – that’s about as spooky as you’re going to get out of me.

Today’s book review is about Perfect Crime by Helen S. Fields, and it’s book 5 in the DI Callanach series. I’ve read the other 4 and loved them, but I’d suggest reading them in order or it could get confusing. I accidentally read book 4 first, and it referenced events that happened in book 1. I wasn’t reviewing or blogging at that time, so you’ll have to trust me when I say that these books are normally WAY out of my comfort zone when it comes to creepy-scary.

TRIGGER WARNING: This book has many references to suicide attempts and mental health issues, there are gory and gruesome descriptions of murders. There is one erotic scene, plenty of profanity, one reference to rape, mentions of substance use, infidelity, and migrant exploitation.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A young man is preparing to end his life by jumping off a bridge, until a suicide prevention therapist intervenes. One week later, he is found dead. DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner are on the case to determine if it was a suicide or a murder. But as they investigate, more deaths occur. A woman found dead in her bathtub seems like a suicide at first, but is it really? Further investigation shows that they are carefully staged murders. Callanach and Turner don’t even realize how close the killer is, as he grows more confident and delusional with each kill.

There’s so many things that I love about this series, so rather than make a long, rambling paragraph, I’ve decided to make a bulleted list (since I’m really an academic at heart). Here goes:

  • The setting – these books are set in Scotland, and it’s someplace that I’ve always wanted to visit. I think the weather really plays a great role in the mood and tone of not only the book, but each individual scene. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I can practically hear the accent when I read.
  • The diversity in the characters – I don’t usually think of Scotland as a hotbed of diversity, but I’ve never been there. I enjoy that the cast of characters is inclusive. There is good representation among the main characters. Ava’s best friend is an out and proud lesbian, Luc is a French immigrant, there are minority characters, and interracial dating is no big deal. Also, women on the police force face some hurdles, but the Superintendent is a woman, so there are women in positions of influence that are respected in male-dominated fields.
  • Addressing mental health issues – anytime a book tackles mental health and suicide, I’m automatically wary that it’ll be stigmatized further. The mental health community doesn’t need that, and I’m a fan of books breaking down the barrier. This book actually handles that topic really well, in my opinion. It looks at people with mental illness as more than their diagnosis, which is really the best way to look at it, and that the vast majority of people who do have mental illness can live fulfilling, productive, and even happy lives.
  • Resolution – if you’ve been reading other books in this series, there’s some unresolved issues from earlier books. Some of those issues are resolved in this book, while others are left for future books … hopefully. Either way, I’m left both satisfied and hungry for the next book.While the other books in the series were much scarier and creepier, this one was still an enjoyable read. It didn’t have the immense gore and elements that led me to double check my locks at night before bed, but it had the trade-off of increased emotional aspects. I still loved the writing and I’m highly emotionally invested in the series. There was one aspect towards the end that didn’t feel genuine to me, as it involved a bit of sloppy police work, but I still plan on devouring the next book as soon as possible.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 14

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