Mr. Nice, by John Nicholl

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to John Nicholl and Bloodhound Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

When I received the latest John Nicholl novel, I made sure to clear all other reading requirements to delve right in. His masterful use of police procedurals with a psychological twist allows John Nicholl to pull the reader into a piece they will not soon forget. When a young girl goes missing from her home, the father is the first suspect. Having stormed over in a drunken state the night before, his threats seem credible. However, that intoxication proved a strong alibi and he is soon struck from the list of possibles. DI Laura Kesey can tell this will be a troubling case, thinking back to the many stories her mentor shared before his passing. Kesey and her team take control of the case, though have few clues on which to build much of anything. The killer lurks in the shadows and has their own story, speaking of how young Lottie Weller may not have been a bad girl, but her mother was definitely in need of a lesson. While Kasey tries to juggle the increased panic of the parents with her own fear for a child at home around the same age, she must also keep a calm head, as the killer is goading her. A woman was apparently seen outside the house at the time of the abduction, but this seems a little too odd for Kesey to accept. Could there be a team working and how long do they have before the child is no longer a useful plaything? Chilling in its delivery, John Nicholl does not fail to impress yet again. Recommended to those who love a police procedural where the killer is known throughout, as well as those who have long enjoyed the work of John Nicholl.

There are few authors whose books I will stop in my tracks to fit into my reading schedule, but John Nicholl is one. I have long been lucky enough to read his work in an advanced capacity and devoured every piece before praising it to anyone who would listen. Nicholl has worked the ‘West Wales Police’ theme into most of his novels, and used a younger Laura Kesey before, but now hands her the baton. Kesey is well-suited to the role of protagonist, having learned a great deal as a cop from her mentor, whose demise left a great hole in her heart. Kesey balances work and home life, though some might wonder how effectively. She has her eye on the prize and seeks to get a handle on this most disturbing case. With a killer trying to make her look the fool, she is in no mood to have her team lose control of the case. Other characters help enrich the narrative throughout this piece, which has many twists and turns. Nicholl places all those who have a role in the story in their own spot, shaping dialogue and plot development with the varied personalities he chooses. The reader will surely enjoy all that he does throughout and the various perspectives that make the book all the better. The narrative and plot are strong throughout and keep the reader guessing how things will progress. This is surely harder in a piece where the solution has their own narrative perspective, but it is joining the two that makes things all the more exciting. Nicholl mixes shorter and long chapters together to create a forceful story that propels itself forward throughout. Those who have read some (or many) of John Nicholl’s work will see some repeating themes throughout, but this is a good thing, rather than being burdensome. I cannot wait to see what else John Nicholl has in store for his readers, but this one is not to be missed!

Kudos, Mr. Nicholl, for another winner. I know I am in for a great (and quick) read each time I receive one of your novels.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: