Review by Laura Salvadori
(Translated from Italian by Mara Cioffi)
Author: Helen Fields
Publishing House: Harper Collins
Publication Year: 2017
Plot. Your new addiction starts here: get hooked on the #1 bestselling series. Perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and M.J. Arlidge. Welcome to Edinburgh. Murder capital of Europe. In the middle of a rock festival, a charity worker is sliced across the stomach. He dies minutes later. In a crowd of thousands, no one saw his attacker. The following week, the body of a primary school teacher is found in a dumpster in an Edinburgh alley, strangled with her own woollen scarf. D.I. Ava Turner and D.I. Luc Callanach have no leads and no motive – until around the city, graffitied on buildings, words appear describing each victim. It’s only when they realise the words are being written before rather than after the murders, that they understand the killer is announcing his next victim…and the more innocent the better.
With great pleasure, I returned to read Helen Fields, author of “Perfect Remains”, a thriller of debut that last year had great success.
With equal pleasure, I can say that I found the author in great shape: mixing and amplifying the qualities that were already evident in his first work. Fields will undoubtedly be satisfied and, of course, its readers. “Perfect Prey” is a great thriller, written with all the trappings.
A well-thought-out plot, a mystery difficult to unravel, an atypical and cruel killer. The result is a novel where the attention never drops, where the reader must make the brain work if he wants to get to the edge of the skein and where, in the end, nothing is as we had imagined.
The author, in my opinion, manages to improve her historic performance. In the first chapter of Luc Callanach’s investigations, we saw an incredibly cruel killer in action but a solution to the case entrusted to the situation. In “the wrong victim”, however, the answer is the result of a real police investigation, which will also field not too orthodox expedients and the intuition of detectives.
This last aspect, in my opinion, is sufficient to determine the superiority of the other work of Fields compared to the first. For the rest, we find the investigative team as we left it. A well-assorted team, where everyone does his part.
Where each character has its role and background and contributes to the definition of a team, you can breathe the air of a massive police station, and the scene is not limited to the only deeds of the protagonist. Everyone says his own, and the author never proves miserly in dispensing space even to minor characters, nor to the intimate and psychological characterization of each character.
Luc returns to us more fascinating than ever, but also more tormented.
His past is not easy to overcome, and Luc has almost lost the hope of being able to recover his serenity. In this novel, the relationship between the handsome inspector and colleague Ava Turner takes on a new guise, which will lead both to live a conflict situation.
The new balance will affect the investigation, which will prove very difficult and complicated. A trail of senseless deaths will cross Edinburgh, and in the chaos that these horrible deaths seeded among the population, the tension will be palpable.
And the tension will also affect the investigation team.
The inspector will find himself working alongside a new colleague, who will prove to be a formidable and unseemly opponent to confront. And that will be a source of frustration and helplessness for Luc. Luc will be put to the test but will demonstrate his tenacity and great determination. Even when his investigative choices seem to lead him to a minefield, he will turn his luck to his advantage.
Everything in the novel is well calibrated. The whole narrative pattern shows consistency and excellent study of details. It is challenging, in my opinion, to find in you a naivety or a flaw.
Fields accustom her readers to excellence and do so seemingly without any effort.
This gives us hope and will raise the bar of expectations of the reader. But Helen Fields has nothing to fear because she has already amply demonstrated what she is made of!
“Perfect Prey” is a thriller that I recommend to everyone, and that can be fully appreciated even without having read the previous chapter. Of course, a peek at the earlier novel if I were you I would give it a chance, you will not regret it!
Helen Fields: Helen Fields studied law at the University of East Anglia, then went on to the Inns of Court School of Law in London. After completing her pupillage, she joined chambers in Middle Temple where she practised criminal and family law for thirteen years. After her second child was born, Helen left the Bar. Together with her husband David, she runs a film production company, acting as script writer and producer. Perfect Remains is set in Scotland, where Helen feels most at one with the world. Helen and her husband now live in Los Angeles with their three children and two dogs.