Review of "Stop Dead" by Leigh Russel
This is the first of Leigh Russel’s novels that I have read, and it will probably be the last.
The story was pretty average, the plot struggled to remain credible. I really struggled to keep on reading this novel.
The characters are unremarkable, and Geraldine Steel, for all her success in climbing the police ladder, is pretty boring. The book irritated, because it had to showcase the woman DCI who has succeeded despite the odds, the female sergeant Sam, who, in my opinion, was only in the story to provide the lesbian interest, the inane pathologist, the rather scatter-brained Police Chief, the anti-lesbian colleague, the stolid sergeant from the old patch. All characters who have been done before, and done better. Sam, the sergeant, brings nothing at all to the story, and left me with visions of a petulant child, rather than a professional police person.
The capture scene is rather amateur, the heroic police officer entering the killer’s home against her better judgement, no longer washes, especially since it is not how the Met. would do things.
The mutilation of the victims provided a twist of sorts, but could have been dealt with in a way that shocked more.
The positives were the way that the story moved away from the first suspects, by-passing them as their relevance waned and died. This was realistic, it is how such investigations proceed, and it was well handled in the book.
The most irritating thing about the book was the formatting. The use of the block method for starting new paragraphs was really disconcerting, and on more than one occasion I thought that a new chapter or section was starting, when all that was happening was a new paragraph. On a number of occasions I put the book down in irritation at the poor formatting.
The prose was average, there were a number of grammatical and language errors, all of which should have been caught in editing.
Overall, a very ordinary, unremarkable and stereotypical murder mystery.