David Jackson

The Helper

"Doyle is a great lead character..."


A grisly murder in a shabby New York bookstore seems to hold a special significance for Detective Callum Doyle: the victim's been marked with a message that could have been left especially for him. But why? Then the sinister phone calls start. Doyle is told more deaths are planned but the caller will give him clues – on condition he keeps them to himself.

So begins his dilemma. If he turns the offer down he will have nothing to go on. But if he accepts and gets it wrong, he will have concealed knowledge that could have stopped a killer. As more deaths follow, increasingly vicious and apparently random, the pressure on Doyle to find a link becomes unbearable. Does he continue to gamble with people's lives? Or must he sacrifice everything to defeat a ruthless and manipulative enemy?

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Jackson's sequel to 'Pariah' sees the return of Doyle trying to reinstate his status within the homicide department, and this case may be the one that can do it. Doyle is a great lead character but I felt he was let down by a plot that tried to be too clever. The killer contacting Doyle, giving him 'clues' before each murder occurred was believable, yet after having all the information and with hindsight, very few would have been able to collate this to work out who the next victim would be. The clues are often convoluted but the information is there, but these in my opinion were impossible to guess which slightly spoiled the book for me. The connection between the killers was in some ways obvious but the how and why was never really explained which again was a bit of a disappointment and left too many questions unanswered. Overall I enjoyed the book and although my review pulls the negatives from the story, I still feel it deserved a high rating as it kept me interested and turning the pages. That said, I will still be looking forward to Jackson's next book.

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