Wednesday, March 12, 2014
by Leigh Russell
Witness Impulse 2014
386 pages Fiction
Yeah, ok, so what! That is my feeling after spending time reading Death Bed by Leigh Russell. While the premise of the book is adequate (intriguing, actually), the sub plots are less than stellar.
When you are reading police procedural mysteries, you don't expect to be blown away by good literature, but that is precisely why I picked up Death Bed following The Goldfinch. (I was amused to see that K on Goodreads had done the same thing and had similar feelings about Death Bed.) I wanted to read something quick with no surprises. That is certainly what I got!
In the fourth book in the series, Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel has moved from a position with the Kent police force to the London Metropolitan police force. She has come highly recommended as a consummate officer, so when a gruesome murder occurs shortly after her arrival, expectations are high that she will be able to solve it quickly. She has a wonderful Sergeant, Sam, who tells it like it is, and they make a good team. The one murder extends to two and the office is worried that there is a serial killer on the loose. Geraldine is intent on solving the crime, in part to make her mark at the new police department, and also because she has received some disturbing personal news. And that's where the "So What" comes in. The character of Geraldine is poorly developed, so the attempt to develop a subplot involving her personal problems is wasted on an uncaring audience.
Don't get me wrong. The mystery in Death Bed is really quite strong. So much so that you wish the author had developed the mystery even further and left the character development undeveloped because you just don't care one bit about Geraldine and her problems. Publishers Weekly calls it sub-par and I guess I feel the same.
This is my first foray into mysteries by Leigh Russell. She is the author of two series--the DI Geraldine Steel series and the DS Ian Peterson series. Not sure I will read any more.