Matheson’s second novel is a more considered affair than her debut, ‘The Jigsaw Man’. While both books are hugely entertaining, Matheson’s debut was more explosive like a runaway car with no brakes. ‘The Binding Room’ deals with many issues that affect many in society including mental health, race and religion. DI Henley being a woman of colour has to fight on all sides of the divide to assert her right to be a woman, black and a police officer, a position that brings her into conflict with the family of the local murdered pastor who was also black. This is an extremely difficult dynamic that Matheson flags up which is something many of us don’t have to deal with.
Matheson’s writing reminds me of the excellent psychological novels of Minette Walters. As with Walters, Matheson brings to light social issues as well as some peoples way of thinking, especially when dealing with religious mania, something one feels should be relegated to the dark ages and not the 21st Century. Sadly this is not the case. Apologies if my comments feel slightly oblique, but this is one of those times when it is difficult to write a review without giving anything away! ‘The Binding Room’ has a sense of the classic film, ‘Seven’, creepy and malevolent.
Henley is a great detective, torn between her desires and her responsibilities. Her husband is still moaning about her job. I really do dislike that man! Ramouter’s life is expanded and makes him more human, showing the man behind the job who also has big issues in his daily life. I hope Matheson will do the same with the remaining team. Matheson has blasted her way on to the crime scene with her first two books and I can’t wait to read her third which promises to dig up more skeletons within the CSU!