#IncidentReport – My Bloody Valentine by @alastair_gunn (@PenguinUKBooks 2015)

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MY BLOODY VALENTINE (DCI Antonia Hawkins #2) by Alastair Gunn (Penguin, 2015)

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“When the body of a young woman is found brutally slain on Valentine’s Day the press reacts with barely disguised glee. For DCI Antonia Hawkins, still recovering from the terrible wounds inflicted by another killer, the pressure of another high profile murder investigation could barely be worse timed.

But, battling her own physical limitations and under pressure from a new member of the team whose ambition to displace her is barely disguised, Hawkins must discover not just who killed the first victim, but why. Or watch helplessly as others die at the hands of a monster whose been labelled the Valentine Killer…”

It felt right to read this book in February – the month of love! I thoroughly enjoyed THE ADVENT KILLER which is the first in the series following DCI Antonia Hawkins and her team as they track down a brutal serial killer targeting his victims on the run up to Christmas and the New Year. The events at the end of THE ADVENT KILLER (Sorry, no spoilers!) were left open and MY BLOODY VALENTINE jumps straight into the story following this.

I did enjoy this book – but for me personally, I was more interested in Antonia’s story, rather than the case at hand of catching our latest killer. It was great to use flashbacks to get into the mind of our killer – but I started to feel like it was taking away from the plot and that some of these flashbacks could have been cut back a little to expand the plot twist further. It felt a little rushed towards the end. Which for me, is no bad thing – I enjoy the occasional reading whiplash!

One aspect I really enjoyed was Antonia’s return to work following her attack over Christmas from the previous serial killer. Antonia’s is quick to catch on that her job is threatened by a newcomer to the team and battle lines are soon drawn – we only get a small taste of this in MY BLOODY VALENTINE, but I hope we get to see more of this in Book Three.

Gunn is a great writer, and that shows throughout his books. I do love me a good police procedural and this ticks that box for me every time. My hope for Antonia going forwards is she continues to get stronger and more determined to seek out and confront some of the bad seeds among her team.
Antonia will have her work cut out for her with the new member of her team and I am interested in reading how Gunn tackles this dynamic in the next book.

Once again, Gunn has left the story WIDE OPEN ready for Book Three; THE KEEPER which is due for release in April 2017. I for one am excited to get my hands on this and read what lies ahead for Antonia and her team.

MY BLOODY VALENTINE is available now through the following UK outlets;

Waterstones; http://bit.ly/2laX17h

Amazon (UK); http://amzn.to/2meEF6r

-S.

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