Ursula P. Archer - Five
"...pages passed rapidly through my fingers..."
A woman is found murdered in a field. Tattooed on her feet is a strange combination of numbers and letters.
Detective Beatrice Kaspary quickly identifies these as map co-ordinates, which lead the police to a 'treasure box' containing several body parts, and a note from the killer containing a series of cryptic clues to the identity of the next victim.
What follows is a desperate scavenger hunt in which Beatrice herself becomes a pawn in the killer's game of cat and mouse, as she risks all to uncover the murderer.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this book as previous novels I've read that have been translated from German have proven to be clunky and awkward, but not so with 'Five'. It was a really easy book to read and I enjoyed it immensely. Divorced with an angry ex-husband, children she hardly sees and an unspoken attraction to her partner Florin, I initially felt that Ursula P. Archer was trying a little too hard to make me like Kaspary, but by the end of the novel the character had spoken for herself.
I really engaged with the premise of 'Five' too, the idea of taking a fabulous. A hobby like geocaching, a search for treasure which is all about the hunt was excellent, because although it meant a slower pace for a thriller novel, it made me feel like I was following the case develop in 'real time', consequently feeling the frustration of the investigators. At the same time I was hungry for the chase and I found pages and pages passed rapidly through my fingers as I urged the police on, like a racegoer, with a million pound bet, cheering on the second place horse in the final furlong.
There's a popular phrase amongst geocachers, that is used often in 'Five' and sums up well my thoughts of the book as a whole... 'Thanks for the hunt'!
Reviewed by: J.P.