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I live in Bristol UK literary fiction and crime are my books of choice and when not reading I like to run

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Welcome back Detective Robert Hunter

Gallery of the Dead - Chris Carter

I've just finished this book. I feel numb as if I've just stepped off the biggest roller coaster in the world! (Kingda-Ka, Jackson New Jersey) There are crime thrillers abundant who showcase various detectives in a book series, and what this means for the reader is that the lead detective will always survive to fight another day in another novel. I'm giving nothing away by stating that Gallery of the Dead is no different in that respect. Detective Robert Hunter is with us from page one and is still very much alive at page 500 ready for book 10 in the series. What however is important is how the author fills the gaps between first page and the end, and how he holds our attention, how he introduces those unexpected twists as yet another psychotic genius commences a killing rampage. I can tell you that I have rarely read a book so gripping so graphic in its descriptions that I am literally shaking from adrenaline and excitement so keen am I to sing praises for one of the greatest thriller writers out there.....there I've said it so what is this book about I hear you shout with anticipation.......


Detective Robert Hunter works for the Robbery Homicide Division and in particular the Ultra Violent Crimes Unit (UVCU) based in LA, where together with his partner Detective Carlos Garcia is tasked with solving those cases where extreme forms of torture and brutality have been used. Robert is unique in the world of fiction detectives; a very high IQ, psychology graduate from Stanford and the author of a book now mandatory reading for the FBI's National Centre for the analysis of violent crime. He is a loner, an overactive brain that causes him to suffer recurring bouts of insomnia. but also a connoisseur of single malt Scotch whisky. The first body discovered is that of model Linda Parker "posed" in a room where the low temperature has kept away the inevitable blowflies but this does not stop the author graphically explaining the damage this  Calliphoridae insect can cause...."They would have concentrated their efforts in the mouth, the nose, the eyes and any open wounds. In the case of a skinned body, the entire body became an open wound and therefore a breeding ground for blowflies. In just a few hours there would have been as many as half a million eggs laid all over the corpse. Those eggs would have hatched within twenty-four hours and in a single day, the maggots that those eggs produced would have reduced a full grown body to half size.".......


The hands and feet have been separated from Linda Carter's body, the skin removed apart from a small patch at the rear where a series of marks and lines have been carved into the skin. Hunter becomes aware of the significance of this "signature" and as the body count escalates with more strange markings identified the detectives together with the assistance of the FBI work tirelessly in an attempt to make a connection between the bodies and thus hopefully identify the killer. The victims are displayed in a thought-out creative manner, Is the perpetrator trying to show the world how clever an "artist" he is or has he an underlying agenda? The answer when revealed demonstrates the author's understanding of the psychotic mind and reflects his training as a criminal psychologist.


As I read this book I was totally at the mercy of some very clever writing. I did not know where the adventure would take me, I was unable to second guess or spot the red herrings, all I knew was that a "Gallery of the Dead"  was being created by a madman who appeared to have a higher intelligence than both the combined power of the Robbery Homicide division and the FBI. As I raced towards the conclusion I felt sure I would be able to anticipate the final outcome but was left gasping when a totally unexpected event occurred which threw into doubt everything I had read before......


So there it is dear reader of my review an outstanding novel that leaves me wondering just how Chris Carter can improve? I leave you however with a thought; Carlos Garcia is Brazilian.."Everyone likes Brazilian people because we can samba."... he also likes to wear his long hair "pulled back into a tight ponytail"....do you notice some similarities between him and a certain author of psycho thrillers? I leave that thought with you..... My thanks to the good people at Simon& Schuster for this "gratis" copy in exchange for and honest review, and that is what I have written. Highly, highly Recommended.