The author previously spent 32 years in the UK police force mainly as a detective before turning to writing.
Set in Yorkshire, Heart of the Demon begins with the brutal and violent murder of a schoolgirl in old farmhouse buildings with Detective Sergeant (DS) Hunter Kerr tasked as the investigator.
[Before continuing, here’s a list of police ranks in the UK and taken from the Metropolitan Police’s website:
- Deputy commissioner
- Assistant commissioner
- Deputy assistant commissioner
- Chief superintendent and detective chief superintendent
- Superintendent and detective superintendent
- Chief inspector and detective chief inspector
- Inspector and detective inspector
- Police sergeant and detective sergeant
- Police constable and detective constable]
The murderer leaves various clues on the body, but even with these clues, they stump the police. As the investigation continues, behaviour patterns of each victim begin to emerge and match. We also get a look at the murderers’ childhood intended to shine a light on the events that took place later.
We follow DS Kerr as he attempts to confirm the victim’s movements and track down her killer. Soon, more bodies turn up, all connected to the same killer and over a period of years.
The investigation, characters, sub-plots, descriptions and procedural elements to this book are all tightly written and woven together to produce an engaging story. The story is fast paced, with plenty of time spent on character development but without lingering.
Having read a few books by Michael Fowler, the ending follows the usual excitement, action, and is a right (electronic) page turner found in other books but isn’t predictable or dull.
As first books go, Heart of the Demon is a terrific read.
Read my review of Michael Fowler’s Secrets of the Dead (Book 3 in the DS Hunter Kerr series) here and, by the same author, See Them Die and The Wedding Killer; the first and second books respectively in the Dr Mottrell series).