Cold Killing by Luke Delaney

As an enthusiastic crime fiction reader I always relish the opportunity of reading a crime novel written by someone who has actually walked the walk and talked the talk in law enforcement , drawing on their personal experience to construct an authentic story- as long as they have the propensity to spin a good yarn as well! As an ex-London Met detective with many years service under his belt, Luke Delaney not only exhibits this complete authenticity in terms of the police procedural, but more than demonstrates his finesse as an author in this gripping and well-constructed novel. Delaney has personal experience of policing in tough inner city areas, and as a CID detective he encountered everything from fledgling serial killers to violent gang crime and gangland assasinations, and all this is brought to bear in this impressive debut thriller.

Sean Corrigan is an exemplary creation in terms of a detective with just the right balance of good cop/disturbed cop having overcome the traumas of his childhood experiences, the experience of which give him a unique perspective on the motivations and psyche of a killer. In Corrigan we observe a man who could easily teeter over the precipice emotionally due to the horrendous events in his own life, but who fights every day to use these experiences to become a perceptive and astute detective, with an inate ability to tap into the mind of the killer at large in this investigation. He is a terrier of a man, unrelenting in his pursuance of the man he believes is guilty of these brutal killings, and like all good detectives more than willing to challenge the dictates of his largely inept paper-pushing superiors to catch a killer. I found him an entirely empathetic character and wholly believable in his characterisation, which is absolutely essential if this is to be the first of a projected series. Likewise, his nemesis in the shape of slimy financier James Hellier, the object of Corrigan’s investigation, is a perfectly realised character combining charm with an undercurrent of wolfishness in his interactions with Corrigan, but has Corrigan got the right man in his sights?

The plot is perfectly paced as the police team grapple with a forensically aware, and ultimately psychopathic killer, capturing the tenseness and frustrations of a multiple murder investigation. This is where Delaney’s experience as a police officer kicks in, with a true depiction of the nitty gritty procedures that the police are bound by, and a continual feeling of them racing against the clock. There are a couple of nicely placed barbs directed towards crime fiction writers and film-makers at the liberties they take in their own depiction of police work, which again added to the sense of realism in Delaney’s own presentation of a police investigation. There is a nice balance in the plot between Corrigan’s professional and personal life, and I thought this added an extra dimension to our perception of Corrigan as a husband, father and cop, with an effective drawing back from the violence of the main plot.

I have no qualms at all in comparing this with some of the best exponents of the psychological police procedual- I’m thinking Mark Billingham, Stuart MacBride, Adam Creed et al- so would definitely rate Delaney as an author to discover for yourselves. You will not be disappointed.

This post was submitted by Raven.