The Red Dahlia
A young girl is found dumped on the banks of the Thames. Horrifically mutilated and drained of blood, her death is an ominous mirror image of an unsolved 1940s case in Los Angeles known as 'The Black Dahlia'. Detective Inspector Anna Travis must race against time to catch this copycat killer, dubbed 'The Red Dahlia' from the flower his victim wore in her hair. But there are no suspects and a media frenzy is spiralling out of control.
Reviewed on 31st October 2013
The second appearance of detective Anna Travis is much more polished than the first. When a mutilated body is found in a situation resembling an unsolved case from the 1930s, Travis is reunited with her old boss to track down the murderer.
The character of Anna Travis feels much more solid in this book, more consistent and showing a fair amount of development from where we meet her at the beginning. The rest of the cast are still only lightly covered, but are more filled out than in the first book and give the resemblance of depth behind that's waiting for later books to peek through.
The plot is a little too similar to that of the first book, although actually I thought it was less graphic in the telling despite the crime being worse - this felt an improvement, that the author didn't feel the need to shock the reader to get across a feeling of revulsion at what was happening. It's much more of a procedural story rather than a whodunnit, but it works as a story until the end, where the final few chapters became predictable.
The writing remained a little rough, feeling like it could use some more polish - the dialogue in particular didn't feel natural, seeming to avoid contractions, which kept breaking me out of the narrative. Overall though a story I enjoyed reading, and I'm glad there are plenty more in the series to look forward to.