Review: Thrillers: Torn by Casey Hill
Simon & Schuster,£12.99
Available withfree P&P onwww.kennys.ie or bycalling 091 709350
Casey Hill burst onto the burgeoning Irish thriller scene last year with a well-crafted forensic mystery called Taboo that shot to the top of the bestseller lists here.
Taboo introduced a feisty new heroine in the shape of Reilly Steel, an Irish-American forensic investigator trained by the FBI, who has been hired by the gardaí in Dublin to haul its Forensic Unit into the 21st Century.
The television rights to Taboo have been optioned by Ecosse Films, the award-winning production house responsible for hit series like Monarch of the Glen, the BBC's Mistresses and the popular restaurant-based RTé series Raw.
Casey Hill is, in fact, the pseudonym for husband and wife Kevin Casey and Melissa Hill. Melissa is already a successful author in her own name, with 10 hugely popular chick-lit novels under her belt, the latest of which is Something From Tiffany's, which spent five weeks at No 1 in the bestsellers' list.
Melissa had long desired to delve into the darker aspects of the human psyche, and when she dreamed up Reilly Steel, she teamed up with her husband Kevin to create a gritty crime series far removed from the sweetness and light of her romantic fiction. (Not that she has abandoned chick-lit. Her latest in this genre, The Charm Bracelet, will be published this summer.)
The second installment from the duo, Torn, is just about as down and dirty as murder stories get, opening as it does with the discovery of the body of a man who has been thrust into a septic tank and left to drown.
The dead man is a muck-raking journalist called Tony Coffey, but there are no apparent clues as to why someone has chosen to kill him in such a horrific manner.
When another corpse is discovered, a victim left to die high in the branches of an old thorn tree, Steel wonders if the cases are connected.
Thanks to her forensic expertise, Steel's investigative team, detectives Chris Delaney and Pete Kennedy, are able to link the crimes to the equally terrible and mysterious death of a former garda called Crowe.
They realise they are in a race against time to halt a serial killer who is ferociously clever and very cruel.
Can Steel successfully follow her mantra, 'read the clues, decode the science, reveal the murderer', in time to save more lives?
An excellent follow-up, set in Ireland, that rattles along at a break-neck pace.