Book review: Love Murder by Saul Black

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 Permalink

Last year I read and reviewed Saul’s Black The Killing Lessons. It was kinda creepy and somewhat violent but I enjoyed it and was keen to read more from the UK author (aka Glen Duncan).

Book review: Love Murder by Saul BlackLove Murder
by Saul Black
Series: Valerie Hart #2
Published by Orion
on November 29th 2016
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Thriller / Suspense, Psychological Thriller
ISBN: 1409165280
Pages: 368

Troubled San Francisco homicide detective Valerie Hart is planning a rare weekend away from the job when she gets the call. A body has been found. A woman, brutally murdered. And the cryptic note left by the body is addressed to Valerie.

The victim is unknown to her, but as Valerie analyses the scene, the clues begin to point in a deeply disturbing direction: to a maximum security prison where a woman called Katherine Glass is awaiting execution for a series of gruesome killings. And Valerie was the cop who put her there.

The last thing Valerie wants to do is re-enter Katherine's twisted world, but when a second body is discovered, with another puzzling clue, she realises she has no choice. Katherine Glass holds the key to the killings, and Valerie needs to find out what she knows before the murders come even closer to home.

Even if it means playing a deadly game where once again, the psychopathic killer holds all the cards.

I have to admit, when thinking back to The Killing Lessons, it was the murderous duo who remained etched into my mind rather than police detective Valerie Hart, even though she looms large in my review of that book.

I can’t help but wonder if it will be the same when I later think back to this novel, as the thing Black does very well is offer up memorable and macabre crimes and sadistic killers.

Glass was jailed for killings committed (and videoed) with a partner, whose real identity she claims not to know. Their partnership was a match made in hell rather than the proverbial heaven, as they feasted on the pain and degradation imposed on their victims.

So when the killings start again Valerie has no choice but to call on the killer who got under her skin first time around. I wondered initially if there was a book in the series I’d missed, but Black offers up flashbacks so we’re privy to Valerie’s relationship with Glass…. Along with that of Valerie’s lover Nick – a fellow cop who now works in computer forensics.

I didn’t feel as connected to Valerie as I (seemingly) felt in the previous outing, but it’s most likely because Glass is larger than life. Obviously scary smart and manipulative, she’s charismatic and Valerie struggles under her knowing gaze and wit. Glass can push her buttons and Valerie’s only just learning to fight back.

Interestingly I made no notes as I read this book. None. Which is rare. Normally I’ll jot down something but I was obviously engrossed enough to not want to critique or praise any element in particular.

I must admit I did guess who the partner might be, but it didn’t matter as it’s as much about Glass, the investigation and what happens than the who.

This is another well-paced heart-thumping novel from Black. And it’s not for the faint-hearted. The murders in the book are more like something about of the TV show Criminal Minds than Agatha Christie. These killers enjoy torturing and playing with their victims, so this is no ‘cozy’. It’s brutal and very real.

Love Murder by Saul Black is published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.

Do violent books disturb you? Do they stay with you more than you’d like?

  • Stormi D Johnson
    December 7, 2016

    This sounds like a good series that is going on my list. 🙂

    • Debbish
      December 7, 2016

      Yes Stormi, definitely try to read them if you get the chance!

I'd love to hear your thoughts