A Deadly Game by Joanne Griffiths
A chilling serial killer thriller
Kate Palmer, an undergraduate student, discovers that she is pregnant and makes the decision to drop out of university. However, on the evening before she returns home, her body is discovered in Aston park. She is the first victim of several murders that will rock the city of Birmingham.
DS James “Jim” Wardell, who has his own issues to contend with, is given the case.
When Eddie Carter, a popular talk show host on Birmingham’s radio station, is contacted by someone claiming to be the killer, it is the start of a cat and mouse game between a deranged killer and the police.
After a second body is discovered the pressure mounts on the police to capture the person responsible.
Who is killing these women and why?
Can Jim apprehend the twisted killer before more innocent women are murdered?
A killer stalks the streets of Birmingham, attacking young women at their peril….
The prologue opens with young carefree student Kate Palmer, making the tough decision to leave university. Across Birmingham however we meet a woman also facing an uncertain and complex future, Alison.
Alison, is married to a man only described only as ‘he’ throughout, he is a volatile, angry and controlling man. The scenes of domestic abuse narrated make for painful reading and fully display the control abusers exercise over their victims. With a young baby, Alison needs help drastically, but as we read her internal struggles we realise how tough it is indeed for victims to face the reality of their treatment and can relate to their belief it will get better. Will Alison find the courage she needs? Can she escape with her young baby?
Career copper, Jim and his police partner, Angela receive an urgent 999 call at midnight during their shift. Summoned to the scene at Aston Park, they find the dead body of a young woman, in what appears to be a sexually motivated crime, due to the display of the body. The victim is Id’ed as local student Kate Palmer and Kate’s personal past is dragged out for everyone to see, secrets and all……..
The killer sends letters and items of the victims, to local radio host Eddie Carter. Eddie runs a Friday night talk show on the BTH FM station. The notes are violent in their wording and show the true level of depravity in the killer himself.
“She Deserved to die she was a whore I’m not done yet”
The police are worried this maybe an attempt at a hoax and the comparisons are drawn from the Yorkshire ripper case and the Hoax caller who confused the entire investigation for many months. When more and more young women’s bodies turn up the media dub the killer the ‘Aston strangler’. Is this Birmingham’s answer to the Yorkshire ripper?
This novel covered a wide-variety of themes and I found that thoroughly engaging. The impact of the crimes on the surviving family, Press intrusion and police pressure are fully explored as the plot plays out. I loved the dynamic of ‘double lives’ but predicting which characters are leading double lives is never easy.
The novel has layers of depth, with a killer twist at the end! 4*