I pointed out recently that some authors tend to have an obsession with eye colour. I don’t believe that most readers take a blind (no pun intended) bit of notice of this. I was chatting to my mate Jan about this recently. She has also been reading this book and we both tend to cast people from TV or movies in the books we read. As a matter of interest Doc Powers in this case was (for both of us, coincidentally) Robson Greene. DI Carver was Idris Elba. The psychopathic central character Peter Leech was originally Peter Barlow from Coronation Street but he wasn’t up to the role and he morphed quite early on into Tom Hardy. Eye colour is therefore, I suspect, immaterial to most readers.
The eye colour issue was a problem for me because parole officer Judy Finch (Emilia Fox) is described (several times) as having violet eyes. I snorted at this as I am yet to come across anyone with violet eyes. Having checked it out to avoid making myself look a little stupid I discover that some people do indeed have violet eyes, although it is quite a rare phenomenon. Elizabeth Taylor was a violet-eyed woman it seems.
However, one would have thought for the sake of realism that someone might have said at some point ‘Oh… you’ve got purple eyes. That’s unusual,’ at which point Judy could have said ‘Yes, it’s quite rare. Elizabeth Taylor had them too, you know.’
That might have quelled my irritation.
Peter Leech’s eyes are green, but he later acquires some contact lenses in Caribbean turquoise in order to help him get through passport control on a fake passport. For a man with an IQ of 160 this doesn’t seem like a sensible plan.
Anyhoo, apart from the eye colour thing this isn’t a bad read.
Doc Powers, forensic psychologist, is on a parole board to determine if Peter Leech (convicted twenty years ago for the savage murder of his parents) can be released. Powers is in angst because of the recent death of his wife and has been hitting the bottle. Not being on form, he fails to convince the rest of the board that Leech is an an intelligent and charming psychopath and too dangerous to be let out.
They let him out.
Leech then embarks on a brutal spree of rape and murderous revenge, his ultimate targets being his brother Shaun (David Tennant) whom he has always claimed was the actual murderer of his parents, and Judy Finch, whom he fixated on when she came to take his statement.
It’s a thoroughly enjoyable read and flies along at a fair pace. I do feel some of the characters to be a tad formulaic and we may have benefited from some additional scenes outside the main plot, or indeed a subplot of some sort, to allow them to interact and round themselves out a little, although I daresay that may well be resolved in subsequent novels.
On the whole though, it’s a satisfying – if violent – page turner which I could quite easily see, with a few tweaks, as a TV series. Robson Greene Please. Don’t think we’ll get Idris Elba or Tom Hardy, but I’m sure Greene could slot this in between seasons of ‘Grantchester’.