I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Santa Killer by Ross Greenwood
Published by Boldwood Books Ltd on September 12, 2022
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Crime, Mashups, Mystery & Detective, General, Hard-Boiled, Private Investigators, Traditional, Noir, Suspense, Women
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
The Santa Killer is coming to town...
One night less than two weeks before Christmas, a single mother is violently assaulted. It’s a brutal crime at the time of year when there should be goodwill to all. When DI Barton begins his investigation, he’s surprised to find the victim is a woman with nothing to hide and no reason for anyone to hurt her.
A few days later, the mother of the woman attacked rings the police station. Her granddaughter has drawn a shocking picture. It seems she was looking out of the window when her mother was attacked. And when her grandmother asks the young girl who the person with the weapon is, she whispers two words.
The rumours start spreading, and none of the city’s women feel safe - which one of them will be next?
He’s got a list. It’s quite precise. It won’t matter even if you’re nice.
Ross Greenwood is back with his bestselling series, perfect for fans of Mark Billingham and Ian Rankin.
Praise for Ross Greenwood:
'Move over Rebus and Morse; a new entry has joined the list of great crime investigators in the form of Detective Inspector John Barton. A rich cast of characters and an explosive plot kept me turning the pages until the final dramatic twist.' author Richard Burke
‘Master of the psychological thriller genre Ross Greenwood once again proves his talent for creating engrossing and gritty novels that draw you right in and won’t let go until you’ve reached the shocking ending.’ Caroline Vincent at Bitsaboutbooks blog
'Ross Greenwood doesn’t write clichés. What he has written here is a fast-paced, action-filled puzzle with believable characters that's spiced with a lot of humour.' author Kath Middleton
The Santa Killer is a complex case fraught with angst. A blistering piece of crime fiction.
I love police procedurals, crime novels, and books with an air of mystery. The only thing that takes that fascination to the next level is stories with a propulsive background story. It’s all very well and good to have a killer storyline, but it needs to be believable. There needs to have a tinge of realism at its core. Otherwise, it doesn’t work. The Santa Killer does that impeccably. It features real-life characters flawed by real-world problems. It doesn’t follow the typical trajectory but instead follows its own path, abides by its rules, and flourishes because of it.
Ross Greenwood has perfected the police procedural. He’s highly skilled at grabbing his readers by the proverbial bollocks and not letting go until the compulsive ending has taken its final bow. I was impressed by the introduction of a non-verbal, autistic character, the victim’s daughter. Unfortunately, authors seem to shy away from the complexities this can bring to a story but what is immediately apparent, especially in The Santa Killer, is that it can take your story to the next level. It shows an understanding of how communication isn’t just talking. It’s in the little nuances that talking discounts. Writing about this isn’t easy, but it was a fantastic display of Greenwood’s skill.
It’s the run-up to Christmas, and a single mother is brutally attacked outside her own home. Her nine-year-old non-verbal, autistic daughter witnessed the attack and translated that into artwork. When her grandmother questions her about it, she says it’s bad Santa. It’s confusing, the woman was well liked by all, and the motive eludes the detectives.
It isn’t a clear-cut case. The victim’s friend, Ann-Marie, is attacked similarly, so it’s a race against time for DI Barton and his team to find the connection. Again, Greenwood had recent events featured in his story with the depletion of his squad due to COVID. He was once more immersing the reader into the realism of the story.
The author’s descriptions were strong enough to allow the reader to conjure up fear and panic in the process. Who can you trust? Is the suspect just under their noses, or is the entire thing one big red herring? Things get messy when a radio DJ receives a message saying Santa is coming to town.
The Santa Killer completely engrossed me, and I couldn’t pause to do my everyday chores, to make tea, nothing. I didn’t ask questions. I just kept reading. It packs an impactful punch. I doubt you’ll come out of it unscathed. I certainly didn’t.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ross Greenwood is the author of crime thrillers. Before becoming a full-time writer he was most recently a prison officer and so worked everyday with murderers, rapists and thieves for four years. He lives in Peterborough.
That’s a great, exciting review.