This debut novel is a big book. An oversized paperback, quite small font and weighing in at 850g it might just further my move towards e-books. There is a high word count for a police procedural novel. This doesn’t need to be the case because in this quite challenging, lengthy read there is a really good novel of about half the length waiting to get out
A serial killer on the loose in Wichita alongside rumbles of police corruption leads to a number of twists along the way, some unanticipated, others less effective. There’s just too much detail often unrelated to the plot, Malcolm goes off on tangents that slow the action and diffuse the flow. There are characters that could have been removed entirely and a back-story that does not enrich the novel.
Philip Malcolm has thrown too much at his fiction debut. His background in writing technical manuals is made apparent. I’m not saying that everything in crime fiction needs to be relevant to the plot but this author, I fear, will lose readers by veering off too often and compounding this by scenes (often meetings) where events are re-iterated in much detail to ensure those still persevering do not get completely lost. Reading groups might find an imbalance between the hours it takes to get through this and any subsequent discussion.