It’s my turn today on the blog tour for First to Die by Alex Caan! Alex’s debut novel, Cut to the Bone, was in my top reads of 2016 so I was very excited to read his next book featuring DCI Kate Riley and DS Zain Harris. So what’s it all about?
SOMEWHERE IN THE CROWD IS A KILLER
Bonfire Night and St James’s Park is filled with thousands of Anonymous protesters in a stand-off with the police. When a cloaked, Guido Fawkes mask-wearing body is discovered the following morning, Kate Riley and Zain Harris from the Police Crime Commissioner’s office are called in.
The corpse has been eaten away by a potentially lethal and highly contagious virus. The autopsy reveals the victim was a senior civil servant, whose work in international development involved saving lives. Why would anyone want him dead?
THEY WILL STRIKE AGAIN
As the research team looking into the origins of the deadly virus scramble to discover an antidote, first one, then another pharmacist goes missing. Meanwhile, a dark truth starts to emerge about the murder victim: he was an aggressive man, whose bullying behaviour resulted in the suicide attempt of one of his former staff members.
AND TIME IS RUNNING OUT . . .
With thirty lives potentially at stake, Kate and Zain have their work cut out for them. Can they find the two missing pharmacists in time, or will they too end up dead?
Wow! This is a book that hits the ground running from the very first chapter. DS Zain Harris is in the middle of an Anonymous protest, attempting to blend in while finding potential trouble makers. However trouble has a habit of finding Zain and he’s near a car that is firebombed and explodes. Chaos ensues. The next morning, a body is found nearby in St James’ Park and DCI Kate Riley quickly realises that something is terribly wrong. This isn’t a straightforward murder.
If you’ve read Cut to the Bone then you’ll know that Alex Caan is a master at twists and turns. First to Die is no different and is a rollercoaster of a read. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on the story, it flips around and nothing is as it seems. As well as the main narrative, the back stories of DCI Kate Riley and DS Zain Harris continue and the ominous ‘Watcher’ is introduced. Both officers are deeply affected by their pasts and without giving too much away, both are left in a slightly perilous state at the end. I do hope there’ll be a third novel as they can’t be left this way!
I like the fact that Alex Caan also pays attention to his supporting cast of characters. Fellow officers, Stevie, Rob and Michelle get a look-in on the action as well as a new DS – Joy Goldman. I have no idea where Alex gets the inspiration for his characters’ names!
When Sainsbury’s had a book website, I had the opportunity a couple of years ago to highlight my top summer read. I chose Cut to the Bone. I have no qualms in recommending First to Die as another great summer read. If you like your police procedurals to be fast and furious with plenty of twists then this is the book to read.
You can buy First to Die here.
About the author
Alex Caan has spent over a decade working in information systems security for a number of government organisations, and is currently specialising in terrorism studies. A lifetime passion for writing was sparked by the encouraging words of an English teacher in school, and eventually led to Alex successfully completing an MA in Creative Writing and writing his debut novel Cut to the Bone.