Mimic, by Daniel Cole

Eight stars

Returning for another thriller by Daniel Cole, I was expecting a great deal. Having enjoyed his series work, I had high hopes that Cole would impress just as much with this standalone. When DS Benjamin Chambers and DC Adam Winters find themselves chasing a serial killer in 1989, they have hopes of rapid success The killer places his victims in artistic poses that parallel famous works of art. After an incident almost kills Chambers, the case goes cold and the killer seems to retreat. However, years later, he is back, with a new set of victims. DS Jordan Marshall receives some information and joins her colleagues, Chambers and Winter, on the case. The three hope to be able to nail down the killer before too many more lives are lost. What they discover both baffles and intrigues them, as art takes on an entirely new meaning. Cole does a masterful job with this one, penning a thriller that’s sure to send chills up the reader’s spine.

Police work in 1989 is more about following leads than anything, as DS Benjamin Chambers and DC Adam Winters know well. When they investigate a body found on the streets of London, they are baffled by its placement and pose. It’s only later that they realise it is set to match a famous piece of art. Tracking down leads does not go as hoped and Chambers is left clinging for his life, as the case goes cold and the killer appears to disappear into the shadows.

Years later, new recruit DC Jordan Marshall has risen through the ranks and wants nothing more than to make her mark. When she is given some new information on an old case, she wants to make it her own, but leans on the expertise of DS Chambers and DC Winters. The serial killer they had been hunting appears to be back, randomly posing new bodies in artistic fashion. After a little probing, there seems to be a connection, albeit loose, between the bodies.

With a name and apparent motive, Chambers, Winters, and Marshall begin their chase to locate the killer. A personal connection to the killer may help them track him down, but it is still a dangerous gamble and one that could have dire consequences. Still, there is hope as long as these three can stay one step ahead of the killer, at least until he strikes once more. A great thriller that checks all the boxes for me, proving that Daniel Cole still has it.

While I read a lot of thrillers, the earlier work of Daniel Cole definitely caught my attention. I was pulled in by his ability to present a story that not only intrigued me, but left me speeding through the novels to see how things would progress. This is another of those, pitting the police against a ruthless killer who uses intelligence as well as cunning to succeed. A game of cat and mouse like no other, Cole creates a great deal of drama as things reach their climax and a killer marks his territory. I am eager to see what else Cole has in store for readers, if not adding to this standalone to create a new series.

The three police detectives at various ranks make wonderful protagonists in their own ways. Each has a backstory that presents itself throughout the novel, though there is also room for wonderful character development. In an era pre-technology, the reader can see how each of these three Met detectives use their sleuthing skills to work on leads and piece the larger puzzle together. They work well together, but also have some decent independent moments for the reader to enjoy. Cole develops them such that I want to learn more as soon as possible, which has me hoping that this is true start of a series.

While the genre is supersaturated, there is something about Daniel Cole that helps him stand out. His attention to detail and research is evident throughout this piece, which creates a narrative that requires the reader to pay attention. Add to that, some well-developed characters that push the story along, as the recipe for success is well on its way. A plot that offers some twists, with a few tangents to help plump up the action, keeps the reader hooked until everything comes together by the end. Daniel Cole makes his mark again and forces readers to take notice, reminding them that he is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to dark thrillers.

Kudos, Mr. Cole, for reminding me how amazing you can be. I am eager to see what you have to come and how your fans will react.