All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Train Rider – Tony Cavanaugh

on February 25, 2014

Train RiderThe Train Rider (Darian Richards #3)
Tony Cavanaugh
Hachette AUS
2014, 336p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

For years, Darian Richards worked Homicide in Melbourne. He had the best strike rate solving cases of any detective in the country. He became head of the Homicide decision at an unprecedented young age. But there was one killer that got to him, snuck into Darian’s head and left him groping for the vodka to quell the nightmares. In his dreams he saw the victims and he chased the killer through trains but he never caught him. Just like in real life. Darian resigned from the Victorian Police Force and retreated to Noosa where he was mostly retired.

But now he’s back. The Train Rider has returned and this time, he’s in Queensland. Has he followed Darian? Has Darian’s retreat brought him out of hiding, using his expert method to kidnap young girls from trains but in a different state? Darian only needs to visit one home of a missing young girl to know the truth. It’s him. He’s here, on the Sunshine Coast and this time, Darian is going to find him. And he’s not going to sit around and wait for the justice system to deal with him. Darian doesn’t work that way.

But the Train Rider is clever. He’s been able to cover his tracks, conceal his identity and take girls from under the noses of the police for years – and it seems that now is no different, even in a much smaller area, one that’s less busy. When three girls go missing at once, Darian knows that he’s being taunted. He’s being given a choice – choose which one will die. But that’s not a choice Darian is going to make. He’s already picked his victim…

And so he is back. The Train Rider, who has haunted Darian Richards for a long time, has followed him to Queensland and begun working his old methods, making young girls vanish from the train. There are no witnesses, nothing shows up on CCTV, there’s no struggle. The young girls simply disappear. In the beginning, in Melbourne, he returned them. Sometimes a week later, sometimes two, sometimes three. Alive. But then, as Darian suspected would happen, the victims stopped returning. The Train Rider had other uses for them and Darian knows that each girl in Queensland will face this same fate as the unfortunate ones in Melbourne if he doesn’t find him and stop him soon.

Darian is smart, he’s a skilled investigator and he’s almost always able to get his man so this criminal is interesting because he manages to continue to outwit Darian at pretty much every turn. Darian only really manages to learn what the Train Rider wants him to learn, small clues that will further taunt Darian and allow him to do just a little…but not enough. Sometimes I wonder how long Darian’s luck will hold, administering his own brand of justice, not being afraid to dispatch violent and depraved criminals to the next world. A catch like the Train Rider, someone who installs fear and panic and the general population would be a huge coup for a police force…

I find this book – well actually this series, often focuses on really fascinating moral debates surrounding justice and punishment and what is the best way to deal with the sort of psychopaths that become the focus of investigations like the one into the Train Rider . Darian is one side of the argument, the side for the aforementioned dispatching. Often Maria, the local police officer who has become his reluctant ‘partner’ on several investigations, is the other. She’s the one still in the force, she’s young, she’s still very idealistic. She believes in “the system” – she proves this in Dead Girl Sing when she rats out Darian’s whereabouts to the local Gold Coast police. He doesn’t approve of her lack of loyalty to him there and the two of them in this volume provide two opposing sides of a justice argument. It’s interesting how often I kind of find myself kind of agreeing with Darian, especially when it comes to paroling useless pieces of trash who immediately and often violently reoffend. The Train Rider references several recent cases and you could easily throw up arguments for a quiet bullet for the likes of Adrian Bayley or Steven Hunter earlier on in their ‘careers’. Is it ‘right’? No. Because where do you draw the line? Who makes these decisions? What happens if you have a bunch of people all doling out their own versions of this? But could I understand people like Darian wanting to do it? Yes. I found that I really, really could. In this book, Maria begins to slide. The investigation begins to affect her, it begins to get under her skin. She begins to blur the lines, just like Darian has been blurring them (often smudging them right out) for years and she has to process her feelings about that. Maria is the most palatable for me in this book – she became more real as she questioned herself and her actions, her thought processes and her feelings from everything on her relationship to methods of interrogation. For once she is more than Barbie Cop, the pretty one.

Once again we are treated to the view of the serial killer, which is a regular feature in this series and once again, it’s pretty much creepy as hell. What was even creepier was the method by which he was kidnapping these girls. I think that we all like to think that we have a chance to get away from someone. To run, to scream, to do something. Even if we fail, there was a chance. These girls? They had no chance, no will, no real ability to do anything except what they were told. And that was truly one of the most disturbing things I’ve read. It made me squirm as I was reading it – I felt claustrophobic, even though I wasn’t confined at all.

The Train Rider is another fabulous installment of this series. Each one of these books I’ve been unable to put down and I hope this isn’t the end of the road.


Book #45 of 2014


The Train Rider is book #8 of my Aussie Author Challenge for 2014.

2 responses to “Review: The Train Rider – Tony Cavanaugh

  1. Great review Bree, this is such an addictive series.

  2. […] Cavanaugh’s new release The Train Rider was a popular choice with Bree and Carol calling it ‘a fabulous installment in the series’ and ‘a first rate […]

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