The Winter Killer (DI James Walker #3) by Alex Pine

My Five Word TL:DR Review : Less thriller, more police procedural


So, here I am again crashing into a series part way through!  Anyway, this book can definitely be read as a standalone as the mystery is tied up nicely, although, of course I may be missing a bit of character interaction/development from the first two books in the series.

The Winter Killer is a murder mystery set in a countryside location where a wedding is taking place on New Year’s Eve.  I enjoyed this and I certainly didn’t guess the ending, but, it didn’t quite blow my socks off and I think an element of that may be that I simply misled myself into expecting something else. When I picked this up I had in mind a cosy, locked room style murder mystery.  Now, I’m not sure that I would call this either cosy or locked room and I also wouldn’t call this a thriller.  This is much more a straightforward police procedural, although now I cast it in those terms I think I would also add the word cosy back in because this isn’t one of those gritty, dark police procedurals where cynical cops are trying to drink themselves into oblivion or have become so hard bitten that nothing affects them.  So, cosy police procedural.

The scene is a remote hotel.  The guests are gathered and in their finery and things seem to be going accordingly until the bride’s sister goes missing.  Foul play is suspected fairly quickly and DI Walker is called in.  Before long, the lake is being searched and indeed, a body is found.

I liked the start of this one.  It kicked off really well, the author pulled me into the location with ease and then began to demonstrate that in spite of the beautiful setting and the top notch event tensions were simmering beneath the scenes and lies and deceit lay just below the surface, ready to be dragged forth during the questioning.

In terms of the characters – well, I wouldn’t say I formed any real attachments.  DI Walker certainly isn’t a character that I disliked but he felt a little bland.  There were a number of suspects and leads being followed to help draw you down the wrong path and also a number of other extras such as DC Abbot, who is a member of Walker’s team but was also a guest at the wedding and so on hand to immediately contain the crime scene.

To be fair to the author I’m not quite sure I can pin down why this one didn’t wow me.  The writing is easy, the story moves along at a good clip, I enjoyed listening to the audio version and I never suffered from the dreaded book fatigue that sometimes happens if a book isn’t quite able to work it’s magic.  I think it was more that the characters failed to really make friends with me – or for that matter really make me dislike them, and I felt the ending and the eventual reveal left me a little underwhelmed.  I don’t know what I was expecting really but instead of experiencing that ‘ah-hah’ moment where you begin to rethink some of the key moments in the book to try and pick up the trail of breadcrumbs you’ve overlooked along the way I just felt a little flat.

To conclude. I certainly wouldn’t discourage anyone from giving this a go and it definitely has a seasonal feel, it just wasn’t quite what I was hoping for when I picked it up.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 3 of 5 stars.


8 Responses to “The Winter Killer (DI James Walker #3) by Alex Pine”

  1. mallikabooks15

    One does need to feel that connect with the characters to really enjoy a book.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, I felt distant from them all for some reason – perhaps coming into the series on No.3 might not have helped but I simply hadn’t realised.
      Lynn 😀

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Police procedurals always pique my interest because I enjoy following the steps taken to arrive at the solution of a crime, so this one might very well check several of my favorite “boxes”.
    Thanks for sharing 😉

    • @lynnsbooks

      Well, be aware that this isn’t the first in the series – a fact I completely failed to spot.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Tammy

    The cover does not say “police procedural” to me, so I can see why you were disappointed.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, on the whole this is a good book but it just wasn’t what I was expecting, or perhaps more to the point, was in the mood for at the point of picking it up. I wouldn’t dissuade others from picking it up but I’m perhaps not the best audience for a more ‘police procedure’ leaning type of novel.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I probably would have figured this for a locked room mystery too, sorry to hear it wasn’t better. I also think the more of this genre I read the pickier I’ve gotten 😀

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