Published by Accent Press ISBN: 9781786156792 294 pages
The killer in this novel gets sexual satisfaction from mortally harming prostitutes. A real ‘sicko’, his extremely unhealthy relationship with his mother has marred his life forevermore. He believes that in order to save the souls of certain women (prostitutes), he must kill them so as to return their souls to God. Then wracked with guilt he flagellates himself with a scourge until he passes out.
As he kills more and more women, it is the task of DCI Paolo Sterling and his team to find him and lock him away from society.
Paolo Sterling went to a Catholic school called St. Swithins’. Many of his former schoolmates feature among his potential suspects in this gruesome case.
D.C.I. Paola Sterling – Catholic, estranged from his wife Lydia who he still loves, still mourning the death of his daughter Sarah, trying to find some rapport with his fourteen year old daughter Katy, and gingerly navigating his relationship with Barbara, the police coroner, Paolo finds succor and and escape from his personal life by giving his all to his work.
Detective Sergeant Dave Johnson – New to the team, Dave fancies himself a bit of a ladies man, though the ladies would disagree. Paolo dislikes Dave’s attitude toward women and his work.
With themes that touch on Freud’s psycho-sexual theories, self-flagellation, necrophilia, spousal abuse, child abuse, and gruesome crimes against women, this novel is not for the faint of heart.
The dark subject matter was only a small percentage of the narrative though. Most of the story dealt with the policeman, Paolo Sterling, and his tumultuous and unhappy personal life. I found myself liking him and look forward to future books in the series.
Despite it’s often dire and disturbing subject matter, it was a page-turner and very well presented. Set in the fictional British city of Bradchester, it displays the seamier side of urban life without naming names and shaming cities.
Unlike many police procedurals, it was a refreshing change to read about a DCI and his sergeant completely at odds with one another instead of the usual sympathetic duo – though I suspect their rocky relationship improves in subsequent novels. DCI Sterling was a protagonist with a LOT of personal baggage including a cold and distant relationship with his estranged wife, a volatile relationship with his teenage daughter, and a one-night stand with the area’s forensic coroner who wants more from him than he is able to give.
Rife with ‘red herrings’ the plot leaves the reader guessing as to the identity of the serial killer. More than once, I thought I had the killer sussed out, but, as I’m sure the author intended, I was dead wrong.
I’m now eager to follow DCI Paolo Sterling in further books and cannot wait to see what they hold in store. So, with warnings about gritty, disturbing, subject matter, I am highly recommending “The Retriever of Souls”.
I received a complimentary digital copy of “The Retriever of Souls” from Emma who runs Damppebbles Blog Tours in order that I might participate in this tour.
At present there are FOUR D.I. Sterling novels
Born and raised in South East London, Lorraine Mace lived and worked in South Africa, on the Island of Gozo and in France before settling on the Costa del Sol in Spain. She lives with her partner in a traditional Spanish village inland from the coast and enjoys sampling the regional dishes and ever-changing tapas in the local bars. Her knowledge of Spanish is expanding. To stop her waistline from doing the same, she runs five times a week.
When not working on the D.I. Sterling series of crime novels, Lorraine is engaged in many writing-related activities. She is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum and is head judge for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions.