Saturday, 23 February 2013

Bad Moon Rising by Frances di Plino

Bad Moon Rising by Frances di Plino

Someone who I trust and respect recommended this read. At first I was not convinced it was something that I would enjoy. But, I gave it a bash. Agreed it isn’t light reading, but I couldn’t put it down. I had to force myself not to speed read. (I have a dreadful habit of peeking down the page when I am reading an exciting passage).

DI Storey and his apparently misogynistic sergeant are investigating grisly murders. The DI is a troubled soul and insights into his frustrating personal life, punctuate the narrative.

Storey’s monumental misjudgement of his ex-wife’s intentions seems a tad clumsy at first, but then strikes you as endearing and somewhat sad. His rational, inspective self is compromised. The diversity of the characters belies the comfortable, familiar links we find between them. I found it absorbing to watch relationships develop between colleagues, professional people and family members.

I had nearly all the main characters banged to rights in the build-up, and enjoyed the hints sprinkled throughout. Some were blatantly intended to send you off up some dark alley reeking of red herring. Other, quieter off the cuff remarks had me bleating ‘Aha’ and nodding wisely as I believed I had cracked the case before the DI. Only to change my mind three pages down the line.

The killer has his own tale and we are offered more about his twisted beliefs that having sex with a living person is sinful. The description of his self-flagellation is brutal and we learn more about his perverse ideas for cleansing the souls of those that sin. What intrigues you is that the killer appears to be deliberately leaving behind damning evidence.

The conclusion is harrowing. The twist is unanticipated, the characters are realistic, the story is original and the next one is eagerly awaited. 

Julie Lewis

Bookclub comments/reviews

I agree with all the above, especially the tendency to rush the story. I read it again, as soon as I'd finished. It is a cracking read, a real jigsaw puzzle of connections and suspicious gaps. The thing I enjoyed most was the whole exploration of misogyny. I think the themes are layered and complex, to do with how our views are shaped by our childhood, by the media, by our peers. It seems to highlight our sense of empathy for others - there's an agonising moment when one victim is forced to thank her killer - gave me a shiver. At least Larry and Dave show that not all mindsets are set in stone. But for one character, it's far too late.
JJ Marsh

I also agree with the review. Bad Moon Rising was one of those books where your hands ache from gripping the page (Kindle) and reading as fast as you can. Loved it. Hope Frances is a quick writer because I can't wait for the next one.
KB Walker

The review is right in line with my own thoughts on BMR. Its deeply disturbing subject, treated expertly by the author as she delves into a twisted mind, had me turning the pages right to the end. Let's hope we hear lots more about DI Storey!
Liza Perrat

I have read this book and loved it. The pace is CRACKING. I flew through it, barely pausing for breath as I read. The killer is proper nasty and the twists and turns were more than enough to satisfy this avid fan of crime fiction. It was brutal in parts, which made me pause occassionally, but as an exploration of mysogyny I think it has to be brutal. Most importantly for me, Paulo, the main character, is a wonderful creation and certainly strong enough to carry an entire series. I hope to see him again soon.
Sheila B

I agree with all that has been said so far - Frances di Plino is certainly an author to watch in the future. She has a rare ability to elicit empathy in the reader, not only for the beleaguered police officers, but also for the complex, damaged murderer, who is drawn with an expert eye for psychological detail. A great crime debut, and hopefully the first of many!
Jo Reed

A spot on review. The phrase page turner may be a cliche, but it's almost impossible to avoid when describing BMR. Di Plino explores some very grim issues with a skilful touch and even had me, most reluctantly, feeling some sympathy for the brutal killer. I think the darkness of the crimes at the heart of the novel is made tolerable for the reader because the investigating policeman, D I Paulo Storey, is such a warm and complex human being. I'll be looking out for his next appearance
Chris C

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