4 out of 4 stars
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Two grisly murders, a stalker, and a decade-old rape confound the Crime Unit of Strandtown district in Belfast, in the stunning Suspense/Thriller novel, The 11:05 Murders by Brian O'Hare. Detective Chief Inspector Sheehan returns in this second installment of the Inspector Sheehan Mysteries series. Joining his team is Woman Detective Sergeant Denise Stewart and the Crown Prosecutor, Robert Turner. In this episode, DCI Sheehan leads his team in the search for a serial killer that has maimed and murdered male victims on a specific night and at a particular time. Pooling their resources, together he and his team are working against the clock to locate the perpetrator and prevent more atrocities.
Following a court appearance where she assists Crown Prosecutor Turner in placing her former crooked superior in jail, Woman Detective Sergeant (WDS) Denise Stewart transfers from the station in Lisburn. She joins the Serious Crime Unit in Strandtown, under DCI Sheehan. After the gender-related harassment she received at her last post, Denise has little interest in encouraging relationships with her new workmates. Her first day on the job, when her colleagues reach out in camaraderie, Denise responds with a cold shoulder. Commanding her to drop her frosty attitude, DCI Sheehan requests that she work as a member of the team, and further ordering her to accompany him to her first murder scene, where a mutilated male victim waits. After a celebratory dinner with Denise, the Crown Prosecutor takes an interest in the murder and attends the team meeting. During the meeting he calls unwanted attention to her progress, his unwarranted praise humiliating her. When her shift is over, and Denise leaves the station, she has the terrifying sensation of someone stalking her. Now, an anonymous caller is giving her leads to pursue and hints to the identity of the murderer. He will continue to assist her under the condition their calls remain a secret. Under pressure, Denise allows a colleague to accompany her home as a precaution. He is attacked as he is leaving Denise's house, intensifying her presentiments. As the uncommon events and circumstances occurring to Denise escalate, she is inspired to follow a tenebrous lead that her teammates have deemed inconsequential. Denise must prove to DCI Sheehan and her team, that she is capable and ready to help catch a serial killer and bring the case to a close.
This is an exceptional novel with an action-filled plot, and I cannot recommend it enough. The opening prologue captured my interest, and the story did not fail my expectations. Not only are the characters engaging, but they are also complete with human complexities that make them real. The storyline moves along at a fast pace, perfectly orchestrated with the plotline, story arc, and the electrifying conclusion. The author is skillful in using his words, drawing the reader in and keeping them mesmerized to the surprising finale. This has to be the best book I have read in years, and believe it will satisfy those who love suspenseful murder mysteries.
Although it is an exciting and intense book, there was one flaw. I was confused as to why the protagonist of the story (WDS Stewart) was not labeled as the main character. This is a sequel in the Inspector Sheehan mysteries, but he, regrettably, takes a back seat in the plot. The sidekick takes the lead from the main character and shines through most of the book. This is considered a faux pas in story construction, and I was disappointed in this oversight. Regardless of that issue, I was quite happy with the book.
Despite the confusion of the protagonist's placement and role in the story, the author's writing style is sensational. The author does more than just write; he paints vivid scenes with words. It is a work of art that deserves Four out of Four Stars. It is an absorbing and riveting story, and I highly recommend it to those who enjoy thrillers and murder mysteries.
The 11.05 Murders
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