The Scribe (Kramer and Carver #1), by A. A. Chaudhuri

Nine stars

In her genre debut, A. A. Chaudhuri pens a sensational crime thriller that will have readers forging ahead late into the night to discover what drives a curious and cunning serial killer. When the body of a young lawyer and security guard are discovered at an elite London law firm, DCI Jake Carver and his team are baffled. Not only was the lawyer an up and coming star, but Sarah Morrell has had her torso inscribed with ‘Contract’. Who could have wanted to commit such a heinous act? Fellow lawyer Maddy Kramer is chilled to the bone, having attended law school with Sarah, even if they were not close. When a second lawyer is murdered and an equally chilling word carved into her chest, Mandy can no longer sit idly by. She approaches DCI Carver and offers some of her own insights, as well as providing some interesting information about one of her former law professors, who also happened to have had a sexual relationship with both victims. James Stirling has a long reputation for racking up the conquests, though he refuses to admit as much when the police come knocking. Soon, both Mandy and DCI Carver are contacted by the killer, offering insight into future kills, though it will take teamwork and determination to crack the code. As the kills mount and Stirling becomes the most likely suspect, a break in the case sends the investigation in new and troubling directions. Seven presumed victims, all tied together by one man, but could he have done all this without ever being detected? Chaudhuri does a masterful job in her writing and delivery of this stellar police procedural. Recommended to those who love fast-paced crime thrillers, as well as the reader who enjoys new and upcoming authors.

I stumbled upon this book and the dust jacket blurb alone was enough to pull me in. I wanted to try the book, though the fact that A. A. Chaudhuri was writing her first crime novel left me unsure of what to expect. From the opening pages, I was hooked, with a killer lurking in the shadows and slaying an unsuspecting young lawyer. From there, the story grew, allowing me to connect with both protagonists. DCI Jake Carver is a dedicated copper, whose time on the force has both helped him hone his skills and lose what little connection he has with his family. Trying to balance homicide work with being a dad to his son who seems to have turned away after the divorce, Carver can only hope that he is able to use what little downtime he has effectively. He’s in tune with his caseload and dedicated to finding answers, wherever they may be, though is not too proud to accept help. I am eager to see how his character grows in any follow-up novels. Carver is contrasted nicely with Maddy Kramer, a young lawyer whose backstory is full of pain. Orphaned at nine, Maddy learned how to grow up with her grandmother, though she is not beyond sacrificing others to make it in the world of the law. That said, she has a great deal of compassion and is determined not to let the killer in the novel get the upper hand. Working with Carver, they are able to develop a strategy to crack the code and save a number of victims from meeting an untimely fate. Other characters complement the narrative nicely and keep the reader affixed to the story at hand. As the book is listed as “#1”, I can only hope others will be published and some of the minor characters appear again, able to work more cases with equally disturbing killers. The story was as strong as I could have expected, more than I predicted this novel would bring. The narrative is full of impactful plots and races from one chapter to the next. A mix of longer and short chapters keep the reader on their toes and makes for a thrilling adventure, until the final page turn. This is one novel not to be missed by those who like the genre. A wonderful novel, no matter where the reader chooses to experience this book.

Kudos, Madam Chaudhuri, for a stunning series debut. I cannot wait to see what else you have in story for readers.

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