3 June 2013

Review: PROMISE, Tony Cavanaugh

  • Published by Hachette Australia 2012
  • ISBN 978-0-7336-2847-4
  • 327 pages
  • debut title
Synopsis (Publisher)

Top Homicide cop Darian Richards has been seeking out monsters for too long. He has promised one too many victim's families he will find the answers they need and it's taken its toll. Now retired, a series of disappearances see him return to the gun. On his terms. But he knows, every promise has a price to pay. If you love Harry Bosch and Dave Robicheaux you'll love Darian Richards.

Top Homicide cop Darian Richards has been seeking out monsters for too long. He has promised one too many victim's families he will find the answers they need and it's taken its toll. After surviving a gunshot wound to the head he calls it quits and retires to the Sunshine Coast in an attempt to leave the demons behind. But he should have realised, there are demons everywhere and no place is safe. A serial killer is prowling the Sunshine Coast area and Darian tries to ignore the fact his experience could make a difference hunting him down.

All he wants is to sit at the end of his jetty on the Noosa River and ignore the fact that girls from the area have vanished over the past fourteen months. All blonde and pretty. Youngest: 13. Oldest: 16. He knows they are all dead but the cops were saying 'missing' or 'vanished . That's what you have to say if you don t have a body.

Jenny Brown was the first. She vanished sometime after 4 in the afternoon, Saturday 15 October the previous year. Except for her parents and her friends and everybody who knew her, it was thought she was just a runaway. Especially by the cops who allowed a good two or three minutes before arriving at that conclusion. By the time they'd reached the gate to the front yard of her house, before they'd even walked across the road and climbed into their cruiser, they would've forgotten Jenny Brown even existed.

But then others disappeared and they couldn't call them all runaways. Darian can't sit idly by and he decides he is going to find the killer and deal with him ... his way.

My Take

At thirty years old Darian Richards became Officer in Charge of Victoria Police's Homicide Squad, having earned the reputation of Australia's top homicide investigator. But failure doesn't sit well with him and sixteen years later, when he fails to find a serial killer taking girls riding trains, he resigns and heads north to Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

It seems there are serial killers everywhere, many murders going undetected. A year after Darian has fled from the south, a serial killer taking young girls in Queensland strikes on the Sunshine Coast. Darian Richards can't stand by and do nothing. He becomes a free lance investigator.

He draws into his net Marie, the wife of a local friend. She is a constable in the Queensland Police and through her he learns what the police know. They form a maverick team, together with Isosceles, an international investigator who provides online services.

By this time we have also learnt that if the courts don't convict and dispense justice then Darian will dispense his own. Over the years he has done this several times, removing perps who have beaten the courts. Darian Richards is a dangerous man, and a rather unlikeable character. You find yourself asking how different he is to the people he pursues.

What didn't work all that well for me in this novel were chapters written from the point of view of the killer whose public count is eight abductions. The author tries to get into his sick mind and the result is horrifying, making for a very noir novel.

My rating: 4.3

Tony Cavanaugh has already published a second novel featuring Darian Richards, DEAD GIRL SING.

Other reviews to check
About the author

Tony Cavanaugh is an Australian writer and producer of film and television, writing numerous dramas since the 1980s. He has over thirty years experience in the industry, in all fields, from the genesis of an idea to production. He has lectured at several prestigious universities and institutions including RMIT, Melbourne University, and the Australian Writer s Guild, and has been a regular guest on radio commenting on the film and television industry. Tony was also invited to judge the Logie Awards, Australian Film Institute Awards, and the International Emmy Awards, held in New York. 

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