Book Review: Hope to Die by David Jackson

There was a hate in this killer. A thirst for obliteration rather than a mere desire to end a life…

A brutal murder takes place in the grounds of a Liverpool cathedral. A killer is on the loose, driven by a chilling rage. The victim: the last person you’d expect to be subjected to such terrible violence. Can DS Nathan Cody crack the case before another innocent is chosen?

What I Thought:
I read quite a lot of crime novels and, in the main, they tend to be London-based. I could probably name a dozen quite easily with the capital as a backdrop, so it’s great to see an upward trend in crime novels based in the regions. Hope to Die (and its predecessor, A Tapping at My Door) is set in Liverpool, which definitely gives it a different edge.

Crime is crime, wherever it is set, but there is some exploration of the history of the city here, which I think is always a nice touch – the book is then not just about the crime, but other points of interest come out as our detectives move around the city and, if you’re even a little familiar with Liverpool, there are things you can recognise.

I was a wary of reading this book straight off, as it’s number 2 in a series featuring DS Nathan Cody. I worried that I would have missed out on some of the back story and, although that was true, David Jackson did a good job of recapping the important points – so much so that I went and bought A Tapping at My Door immediately on finishing this book.

With the way the book is structured, it’s clear who the murderer is from early on, in that we see a lot of their history, and we know why they’ve started killing, but that doesn’t ruin the climax, as we don’t actually know the identity until much later on. The intercut scenes of a child and their abuse at the hands of their mother are harrowing at times, but necessary to the plot and not gratuitous.

The one thing that made me wish I had read book 1 first, was that Cody suffers from PTSD, due to events in the first book and I found it difficult to appreciate what was a huge part of this book withoout having read it first – it is a minor thing, however and easy to fix! In general, Cody is a good detective, and good at hiding his inner turmoil as he tries to solve what becomes a case of three murders. His team are a good mix too, and they bounce off each other well.

This book is left on somewhat of a cliffhanger as regards Cody’s state of mind and, when I read it, there was no book 3 to carry on the story – luckily for you (and me!), book 3, Don’t Make a Sound, has been published, so there’s not so long to wait to find out about Cody’s worsening mental state.

Hope to Die is published by Zaffre. To find out more about David Jackson and his other series of books, featuring Callum Doyle, you can check out his website.

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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