This was quite a mixed bag! I didn’t realise that it was part of a series involving the same detective; it would perhaps be beneficial to read the prior books in the series, although this is by no means necessary in order to understand the plot.
The book is set in Cologne, where Hamburg Police Officer Jan Fabel has travelled in order to help the Cologne Police catch a serial killer – a man who attacks women during ‘Karneval’ an annual celebration when everyone lets their hair down, goes a little crazy and becomes someone else. This killer has a curious predilection for the taste of human flesh, and is extremely dangerous, but a city in organised chaos is not an easy place to find him.
Unknown to Jan, a colleague of his, Maria Klee, has also travelled to Cologne in order to settle an old score with a hated enemy (the background to this is obviously contained in one of the earlier books, but it is easy to understand enough of what had happened for this part of the book to make sense).
A third party is also travelling to Cologne – a Ukranian team led by a Special Forces Commander, whose intention it is to take down a ruthlessly cruel crime boss.
Inevitably, all three threads of the story, which start out quite separately, converge.
There was a lot to enjoy in this book – several twists and turns, with many genuine surprises. The plotting was very clever, and I would be interested to read prior books by this author. I did feel that it may have benefited from being perhaps a third shorter, but that is a minor gripe. Overall, an enjoyable book, which I would particularly recommend to fans of Dean Koontz and other similar writers.
Published by Hutchinson (Random House)
Hardback 07/08/08 £12.99