Dead Set by Will Carver (January David #3)

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Synopsis: Detective Inspector January David doesn’t love me. He loves his missing sister. He loves his job. But he doesn’t love me. Not in the way he should. I am his wife. I am still his wife. And I will do anything for him. No matter what I have to sacrifice.

Kat’s Rating:4/5

Kat’s Review: Okay my head hurts! I picked up Will Carver’s first book in the series Girl 4 and really enjoyed it. However what I realised very early on is that Carver writes in an unusual way. I have struggled with this since book one but ironically at the same time fallen in love with it a little bit. I know that may not make sense but if you have read one of his books you will know what I mean. I also think that this categorically does not work as a standalone, you HAVE to read the first two books in the series for this to make any kind of sense!

January David is a copper that has not just one issue but many. He drinks too much and is currently on sabbatical following the devastating events of the last book. His wife no longer even lives in the country yet she still haunts his thoughts. He also still obsesses over his missing and presumed dead sister. In addition to this, he has these visions. Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous, and there is one part of me that feels the same. But to describe them is just too difficult. They are more like dreams as well as visions when in reality they seem to be his past, present and future all haunting him. This is the element of these books that drives me crazy. However, as much as they drive me crazy the writing style makes you want to read, hence the reason I always end up enjoying them to a certain degree.

Whilst January sets off to New York to face a seemingly duplicate set of murders like the ones he has already solved, his colleagues are working on their own case involving the discovery of a young girls dead body. In terms of storyline that’s all I’m prepared to say but believe me when I say Will Carver gives you anything but straightforward.

There are many things you have to wrap your head around and there are no shortcuts around the gruesome nature of any of the murders. In addition to this Will Carver managed to write a chapter about a character in the present but talking in past tense (if that makes sense). Never before have I struggled to articulate so much on a book I have read. This one is certainly challenging to describe (to say the least). What I will say is this, I loved this book and much as it messed with my brain. I really, really like January and as for the ending, well don’t get me started.

Just when things are wrapped up and we finally start getting some answers, Will Carver throws a dose of uncertainty to the mix and left me wondering how long it will be until the next release. Overall this book is clever and brilliant, maybe a little too clever for me at times; but magnificent all the same. Sadly for me the parts where I am wrapping my head around ‘The Smiling Man’ (I’m not even going to go there and try to explain) mean that it just cannot get a 5 star from me. Other than that cannot fault it and in THE weirdest way I cannot wait to read the next book.

The Two by Will Carver (January David #2)

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My Rating: 3/5

Availability: Paperback, Kindle, Audio, Nook and Kobo

Synopsis: They Kill Without Mercy. Disappear Without Trace. They are The Two.

And now the stakes are raised once more for Detective January David. 5 lie dead, brutally murdered – the first taken on the night of Halloween and as autumn bleeds into winter more ritualistic murders are discovered. January must battle his demons, for in his mind lies the clue to stopping a ruthless murderer.

But his worst nightmares have literally come true when he discovers there’s not one but two twisted killers on the loose …

My Review: Okay firstly I need to point out that if you aren’t into the supernatural element then this book may not be for you. But having said that, it’s still clear that Will Carver is a great author and one that I want to carry on reading, despite the fact this wasn’t maybe my favourite type of book. If you plan on reading book one first (which I would recommend) then don’t read on as the review will inevitably contain spoilers. 

January David is the lead character and in the first book in the series and we meet him once again following his harrowing case from book one. In this second book, its clear he is still battling demons and coming to terms with the things his mind portrays to him. The synopsis makes it clear that January is chasing two killers, however the leading few chapters can be a little bewildering. If you go with the flow, eventually the reader sees the distinction between the two but its certainly not easy.

The writing, as with the first, is fantastic and I really like the unusual style Carver uses. As the reader we get to see the chapters written from the first person whether that be the killer, January himself or the victims. There is something very refreshing about this style of writing and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The parts I didn’t enjoy so much were the sometimes muddled descriptions of January’s visions and the supernatural element is certainly clear to see in book 2.

Because of this, and the fact that this isn’t my favourite type of story, it maybe lessened the enjoyment for me. That aside, I really like reading about January and you feel like he is trying to find his way. Jan’s two colleagues Murphy and Paulson return as well adding to the continuity of the series. The book certainly had talent and pace, but it felt like the story jumped around too much and if I’m honest I didn’t feel that it was anywhere near as good as the first story. I will certainly go on reading Will Carver and this series, with the hope that book 3 is a little less frenzied. Of course like I said in the beginning, if you are a fan of the supernatural, maybe this will be more to your taste.

Girl No 4 by Will Carver (January David #1)

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My Rating: 4/5

Availability: Paperback, Kindle, Audio, Kobo and Nook

Synopsis: Detective Inspector January David has always put his professional before his private life, but now his two worlds clash horrifically as he visits his latest crime scene. Confronted with a ghostly figure suspended ten feet above a theatre stage, blood pouring from her face into a coffin below, it’s clear this gruesome execution scene is the work of an elusive serial killer.

But Girl 4 is different: she is alive – barely. And January recognises her.

Three women from three different London suburbs, each murdered with elaborate and chilling precision. And as January stares at the latest body, the most beautiful corpse he’s ever seen, he detects the killer’s hallmark. If he wants to save his own neck and prevent there being a Girl 5, January must get inside the mind of a serial killer and beat him at his own game…

My Review: How can a book you didn’t want to put down annoy you just as much? I am still somewhat confused as to how I felt about this book. Having said that, this is the first in the series and as I have learnt with other authors sometimes you just need to go with the flow. No doubt Will Carver has a plan for January David and I am hoping that as time goes on I will understand a bit more. 

January David has a name you certainly won’t forget, but his personality seems a bit mixed in this book. He is a good copper that much is obvious, but there are elements to him that I am struggling with, namely his ‘supernatural’ abilities. I try not to judge but as this isn’t a favourite theme of mine I tend to struggle with it. We also meet Jan’s wife Audrey and if I’m honest I didn’t take to her at all from the beginning. What I did take to was the very unique and unusual style of writing. The chapters are written from various characters points of view, whether that be January, the victims or the killer. This was such a novelty to me and the way the victims describe their last few hours was frankly quite chilling.

The murders themselves leave nothing to the imagination with brutal and grisly scenes described in vivid detail. I found myself wondering whether I knew who the killer was or not, and then less than a few pages after I would feel like I was back at square one. This was by no means a perfect book and if I am being 100% honest I don’t know how I will fair with the series. But….there was so much I really loved about this book. Yes it was weird, but it was also gripping, engaging and a whole lot more. I think the main issue I have is the stretch between believable fiction, and personal belief in terms of the supernatural. 

This book certainly won’t be fore everybody but it was so unique that I really didn’t want to put it down. I will move straight on to book 2, to see if I can form more of an understanding of January David. Hopefully this character will grow on me as I think the writing itself is fabulous.