Read from my TBR pile
Darian Richards was one of the most successful Homicide detectives in Australia. After over 15 years as the head of Victoria’s Homicide Squad and being shot several times, he’d had enough. Even though there was still one major case he hadn’t solved, a serial killer riding the trains in Melbourne and snatching victims, he walked away. He was done promising people that he’d find out who murdered their loved ones.
He retired to Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast where he keeps to himself as much as he possibly can. He’s hoping that his newfound quiet, peaceful existence will help him put the horrors of what he has experienced behind him but it doesn’t seem to be that easy. Because the Sunshine Coast has become the target of a serial killer, abducting blonde and pretty girls in their teens. Even though the local police are saying that the girls are merely missing, Darian already knows that they are dead.
Darian could leave it to the local cops, ignore the smiling faces of the girls that have disappeared and continue along in his quiet life. But if there’s one thing that he does understand, it’s how people like this work. And this one seems to be an expert at staying under the radar, staying out of sight and being utterly unremarkable in every way. Darian has never been shy about administering his own sort of justice to types like this and he’s willing to do it again, if necessary.
Tony Cavanaugh is a writer for film and television but Promise is his first novel. I read Danielle’s review last year and knew immediately that I had to read this one. It’s been on my TBR pile ever since and with my newfound resolution to read more male Australian authors this year, it was the perfect first choice.
Darian Richards has jacked in his job as a Homicide hotshot in Victoria and retreated to Noosa in Queensland to hopefully live a life of obscurity. Things aren’t that easy though and most people around the place are aware of who and what Darian is – or was. When it becomes obvious that a serial killer is stalking young, blonde girls on the Sunshine Coast, Darian can see that the local cops are mostly clueless. He uses his connection with a local, a man from his past, who is dating a female police officer, to obtain information. He assures her that when he catches the killer, she’ll get all the glory and Darian will simply fade into the background.
Darian is a difficult character to get a handle on. He’s not particularly sympathetic, even though with the life he has behind him, he should be. He’s quite arrogant and he seems to think that pretty much every police officer who wears a uniform is stupid, except for the women. The women are smart, because they’re disadvantaged from the get-go, being women, so they need to use their brains carefully. Darian makes no secret of the lengths he’s gone to in the past and the lengths he’s willing to go to again. I’ve no doubt he will alienate some readers, with the sort of lofty arrogance he does exude but I think that it’s probably quite accurate for a cop of his level and success. You need to back yourself, have faith in your instincts and your abilities to catch these people and I guess a lot of them probably do bend the rules when they need to and suit themselves quite often. I think the average person would probably be horrified if they knew a lot of the inner workings of very successful detectives.
Cavanaugh certainly knows how to set an atmosphere in his novel. This one is decidedly creepy and sinister, with Richards and often the female police officer creeping around remote areas, empty buildings and bushland. The novel gives you a glimpse inside the mind of the killer, as well as Darian in his attempt to catch him and that is incredibly eerie. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book that gave me such an insight into such a disturbed mind and that certainly made it very easy for me to lean towards siding with Darian in his opinions on what is justice for people like this. Darian has that edge, where you wonder how much it’s taking him to hold himself together after a lifetime of hunting down people like this serial killer. He’s fascinating, a bit disturbing in a way but I know that I’d certainly like to know more about him. He does some pretty reprehensible things (including one very dangerous thing that I really could not believe he did, to someone he supposedly cares about). I liked being given an insight into how he worked (he turned his living room into like a crime fact board, pinning up all the pictures of the missing girls and amassing information, much as a detective team would) and there’s no doubt that he’s good at what he does. His methods are certainly unorthodox and seem to involve an awful lot of stuff I’m pretty sure is illegal, but he knows how to get what he wants.
And what the serial killer was doing? One of the creepiest things I’ve ever read!
Promise is a very tight debut, kept me turning the pages. Tony Cavanaugh’s second novel, Dead Girl Sing will be published in March 2013 and features the return of Darian Richards, this time investigating someone preying on young women during schoolies week on the Gold Coast. You can see a little bit about that one here.
Book #13 of 2013
Promise is the first novel read for the Aussie Author’s Challenge, where I’m aiming to read 12 books by Australian male authors in 2013, including 4 of which are new to me. As this is a debut, Tony Cavanaugh fits that bill.