A Wash of Black, Chris McDonald: Book Review

A promising debut crime fiction which will have you gripped from the first page… here’s A Wash of Black by Chris McDonald.

The plot:

It’s not life that imitates art. It’s death.

Anna Symons. Famous. Talented. Dead.

The body of a famous actress is found mutilated on an ice rink in Manchester, recreating a scene from a blockbuster film she starred in years ago. DI Erika Piper, having only recently returned to work after suffering a near fatal attack herself, finds she must once again prove her worth as the hunt for the media-dubbed ‘Blood Ice Killer’ intensified.

But when another body is found, and this time the killer issues a personal threat, Erika must do more than put aside her demons to crack the case or suffer the deadly consequences.

It’s addictive and thriller-y

This book throws you in straight away to a pretty gruesome scene, so I knew from the get-go that it was going to be my type of book. It’s addictive and thriller-y at times, and a solid 4-star crime fiction for its length.

I really liked the concept, and whilst I wouldn’t go to the extreme lengths of XX (no spoilers!) to point out why the book is *always* better, I get it. I wish there was more focus around the media – a point is made in the synopsis above, but this plays a very small part in the book.

I enjoyed the characters, and got attached to the protagonist, DI Erika Piper, by the end of the story. It is a short book, giving you laughs and scares for the characters along the way, but I’d need more pages to get attached to the other characters too (sign me up for 3x more books!).

I’d say this would make a great book as an introduction into the crime fiction genre. I often get asked for books like this, and this would go to the top of the pile – it’s easy to read with a good amount of ‘who dunnit’ and twists, without being confusing and having too many characters.

My only minor fault would be that, at times, it just felt like additional adjectives were used to bulk out a sentence when they weren’t needed – it sounds silly, but sometimes something is just rectangular, and doesn’t have to be an additional size/shape/colour. It stopped the flow slightly, for me.

A fantastic debut and I can’t wait to see more by this author – I’m delighted to hear that there may be more DI Erika Piper books.

I’m going to leave you with this quote from the opening pages, as it’s fitting with the book – “A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.”

A Wash of Black, Chris McDonald, RRP £9.99 (paperback); Book Depository 

Pages: 253

Publisher: Red Dog Press

Genre: Crime Fiction

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