4 out of 4 stars
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The Dark Web Murders is a classic “whodunit”. In August of 2012, Kevin Lane is processed into the Magilligan Prison. When he goes to take a shower a few hours later, two inmates approach him intending to sexually abuse him. In the struggle that follows, Kevin slips and falls, smashing his head against the wall tiles. The two inmates flee the scene, and with no witnesses, Kevin’s death is registered as an accident. Six years later, Chief Inspector Jim Sheehan has a series of murder cases to solve. All the victims’ heads are smashed open with grey matter oozing out of them, and an old-fashioned truncheon is shoved into their rectums. The Chief Inspector and his team follow the ensuing investigation to various locations across Northern Ireland, and one virtual location: the dangerous dark web.
Author, Brian O’Hare, lined up the chapters to chronicle the events in days and different times of the day from 12th to 24th of August. This gave a heightened sense of urgency to the story and made it easy to track the investigation. The author prefaced the book with a list of his well-developed and distinct characters, along with their brief biographies which came in handy. O'Hare explained that reviewers of his earlier books had requested for this list. Thank you, reviewers.
The Dark Web Murders is a brilliantly written work of fiction. Had I not been required to take note of typographical errors, I would have been glad to ignore them. The characters are very distinct in realistic ways, and that is what I loved the most about the book. My second favourite detail is the abundant use of classic British humour; understated but oh, so funny! My third favourite detail is the slick way O’Hare tackled topics of injustice, revenge and retaliation while giving us a glimpse into the depravity of the dark web.
The antagonist is a memorable character whose pain one can understand while disapproving of the methods employed in getting justice. Here’s one valid point made by the antagonist: “Who can say, if they have not experienced the pain of abuse, of degradation, of loss, whether vengeance is retribution or tyranny?” While I can relate with that, I recognise that human beings ought to be bound by laws and a state of order; therefore, we shouldn't go about exacting revenge on those who have wronged us. I had a character whom I fancied for the murder, and I found myself racing through the story to find out if I was right. I was! But rather than feel unsatisfied at the predictability of the conclusion, I felt a sense of accomplishment. Again, such is the power of storytelling. I will now go ahead and put in an application to my local Police department.
There were a few typos, but not enough to disrupt the flow of the book. Moreover, the book still came across as a professionally edited book. The one feature which I did not like was where our antagonist left a significant clue for the police to decipher in a poem. The message in the poem was glaring, yet the entire team of detectives could not see it. I found that to be rather unrealistic but notwithstanding, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars for the masterful storytelling. It is my pleasure to recommend The Dark Web Murders to all lovers of murder mysteries. Readers who cannot stand the gory thoughts of paedophilia, sex slavery and murder should avoid this book.
The Dark Web Murders
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