30 January 2011

Review: THE RULE BOOK, Rob Kitchin

Publisher: Pen Press, 2009
ISBN13: 978-1-906710-57-6
352 pages
Source: complimentary copy supplied by the author.


April in the Wicklow mountains and a young woman is found dead, seemingly sacrificed. Accompanying her body is Chapter One of The Rule Book – a self-help guide for prospective serial killers. The case is assigned to the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation and headed up by Detective Superintendent Colm McEvoy. Since the recent death of his wife, McEvoy is a shadow of his former self – two stones lighter with a wardrobe of ill fitting suits, struggling to quit the cigarettes that killed his wife, and still getting used to being a single parent. Less than twenty four hours later a second murder is committed. Self-claiming the title ‘The Raven’, the killer starts to taunt the police and the media. When the third body is discovered it is clear that The Raven intends to slaughter one victim each day until The Rule Book is published in full. With the pressure from his superiors, the press, and politicians rising, McEvoy stumbles after a killer that is seemingly several steps ahead.

Is The Rule Book as definitive as The Raven claims?

My take:

This was a very ambitious first novel. So much action occurs in just 12 days, so much blood is shed, and from a writer's point of view, so many threads to be tracked, so many characters to be fleshed out. And for me, this is the best novel I've read so far this year.

I came to THE RULE BOOK having already met Detective Superintendent Colm McEvoy in the second novel from Rob Kitchin, THE WHITE GALLOWS. The author took pity on me after I had reviewed the latter, and sent me a copy. My local library still doesn't have either. 

McEvoy is still grieving the death of his wife Maggie, trying to cope, not very successfully, with being a single parent, when the serial killer, whom the media will label The Raven, hits. The first scene of crime is a gruesome one - the victim appears to have willingly swallowed a sword - and they really don't get any better. As McEvoy pits his brain against that of The Raven the murders pile up, tempers fray. The media, hot on the heels of McEvoy's superiors, bays for blood. There is even a member of McEvoy's team who does his best to gain glory for himself at the expense of the team effort. The personal cost as McEvoy struggles on working 16-18 hour days is huge.

An excellent read, one you must add to your list.

Obtainable at

My rating 5.0

Don't just take my word for it: check the reviews on the author's site.

My review of the next in the series:  THE WHITE GALLOWS

I'm counting THE RULE BOOK as my first book in the Ireland Reading Challenge


Anonymous said...

Kerrie - Isn't this a great read? I'm so glad you liked it as much as you did :-).

Bernadette said...

I agree it is a jolly good book Kerrie.

kathy d. said...

I read "The White Gallows," and liked it very much.

Now I will pursue getting Rob Kitchin's first book, as I await publication of his third in the series.

I find that his writing grips a reader and pulls him/her in right away on page one, and then one keeps turning the pages until it's finished...an unputdownable read.


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