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.


Booking Ahead/Weekly Wrap Up

Sunday Post

I’m trying to get back into the habit of doing a round-up of the week just completed and also take a look at my plans for the forthcoming week.  I rather got out of the habit of doing so but I would like to reinstate this type of post as I feel it keeps me on track.  So, I’m linking up to The Sunday Post over at Kimberly’s  Caffeinated Reviewer.  Without further ado:

Books read this week:

I’ve managed to read two of my books this week and also read about 30% of my first SPFBO book.  The Winter Killer by Alex Pines which is a cosy thriller and Reluctant Immortals by Gwendolyn Kiste which I enjoyed.  I also posted three reviews this week, now I just need to catch up with visiting everyone and stacking up all the books I desperately want on my TBR.

Next Week’s Reads:

Reviews Posted since my last Sunday Post: