A Limited Justice is the first in a new series by Belfast based former forensic examiner turned author Catriona King. I was sent the book to review by the publisher and I have to say that I wasn’t that blown away by the idea of it at first. Despite the old adage, ‘never judge a book by its cover’ I have to say that I did, well that and the title. I don’t know, I guess I thought it sounded and looked a little bit bland. But I’m pleased to say that I was proved wrong.
There has been a brutal murder in broad daylight in a garage in Belfast, followed by a second equally gruesome one, and then a third . . . DCI Craig and his team are determined to find out the who the killers are and to stop them before they strike again. But they don’t quite make that deadline and one of their own is attacked, racking up the heat on the investigation.
The story introduces DCI Marc Craig who I loved from the start. He is strong but kind and is perfect for the main character of a novel like this one. In fact I think the characters in the book are all really well written and work well together. The detective team are a particularly good group. I assume that it is King’s previous experience in dealing with the Metropolitan Police that she has been able to put down her observations and form them into a realistic working environment that is great to read about. There is great camaraderie even in the face of adversity.
I think she did a really good job of the secondary characters too. They made the story what it was – a little bit gruesome, a little bit funny and a little bit touching as well as many other things. I particularly enjoyed the old lady who thinks herself a bit of a Hetty Wainthrop type. She is slightly batty but great fun.
The story is fast paced and quick. It moves along very quickly which I really enjoyed. I read it in a day and although I am a quick reader, I don’t think it would take even the average reader more than a few sittings to finish. This is not a bad thing; it just means that the story keeps you reading because it is so engrossing. I thought King’s writing style was a bit like Lynda LaPlante in that it jumps around from scene to scene, which is another thing that kept me gripped. I’d tell myself that I’d just read to the next break and then find that it would jump to another intriguing part of the story and I just couldn’t put it down – very addictive.
I think that the story has a softer side to it as well, despite the fact that it features some pretty grisly murder scenes; it isn’t all doom and gloom. The ending is quite good. I partly saw it coming, but not totally and I thought that it ended well. Sometimes these kinds of stories can have a cheesy ending that ties things up nicely and leaves you feeling a bit short changed, but this one doesn’t go quite the way you imagine.
I thoroughly enjoyed A Limited justice and am pleased to know that this is just the first in a series that will feature DCI Marc Craig and his gang.