This review is written with thanks to Aria and Netgalley for my copy of The Trophy Taker.
DC Charlie Stafford and her team are investigating a series of racially aggravated attacks when they are presented with the murder of Susan Barton. Susan was a teacher and appeared to be well respected in the community so the police are unsure why anyone would want to kill her, cutting her finger off and removing her heart from her body in the process. But when two other victims are killed using the same method, Charlie knows that she is hunting a dangerous criminal, and her team must find the link between the victims and catch the perpetrator before he is able to strike again.
The Trophy Taker is the second novel featuring Charlie Stafford, and although I have not read the first, I was pleased that I was able to become acquainted with Charlie and her team fairly quickly, . In previous reviews, I have commented that it is often difficult to follow a novel which is part of a series if you are not familiar with what has happened before, but this is not the case for The Trophy Taker, as there is very little reference to the previous instalment. On one hand, this was beneficial, as it meant that I could follow the novel more easily; however, in some places, I did feel that some background information would have been helpful in order to give me some insight into the circumstances that have shaped the characters in their present form. I would be interested to hear from other readers or bloggers about their preferences for reading a series in order, as this issue has caused some debate in my own mind, even as I am writing!
Charlie's team is a very eclectic mix of characters, and I found the various different aspects of their personal lives very intriguing, as the issues they present are well worth exploration in themselves; for example, Sabira is an Asian lesbian who has acted against the wishes of her family by joining the police force. Although I appreciate that these characters and issues are not the focus of the novel, I found that I wanted them to be explored in more detail. I suppose this bodes well for my enjoyment of the sequel!
As The Trophy Taker progresses, the plot becomes more intricate and several different investigations become intertwined with each other. At first, I felt that the subplots distracted me from the primary investigation, but was astonished to read how they all came together as the novel reached its ending. Flint structures and writes the plot so well, and I loved the way that small details that seemed inconsequential at the beginning played a major part in the resolution of the plot. The detectives in this novel often admonish themselves for not noticing certain things, but by the end of the novel I felt the same!
The Trophy Taker is a slow burner and it takes some time for its brilliance to shine through, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be looking out for the rest of the series.
The Trophy Taker is available on Amazon.