Eleven months after discovering a brutal double murder in a sleepy Northumbrian town, Detective Chief Inspector Kate Daniels is still haunted by her failure to solve the case. Then the brutal killing of a man on Newcastle’s Quayside gives Daniels another chance to get it right, and her first case as Senior Investigating Officer. When Daniels recognises the corpse, but fails to disclose the fact, her personal life swerves dangerously into her professional life. But much worse, she is now being watched. As Daniels steps closer to finding a killer, a killer is only a breath away from claiming his next victim…

The Murder Wall by Mari Hannah

The Murder Wall by Mari Hannah

For some weird reason – and I’m to blame totally – I’ve had The Murder Wall on my to be read shelf for a couple of months but up until two days ago I hadn’t paid it too much notice, I’d convinced myself it was something it wasn’t and put it to one side. Having read it, I now wish I’d paid more attention and read it sooner! Mea culpa!

The Murder Wall by Mari Hannah – her debut title in a three book deal with PanMacmillan – reads incredibly well and together with a fast paced narrative and short, snappy chapters it’s a tenaciously fluid read with a great police procedural throughout.

When we first meet the protagonist – DCI Kate Daniels – she is coming to terms with her mother’s death when she discovers a young woman and a priest dead in a church. The beginning to the story is powerful and very well written and hooks you in from the very first page, so much so that before I knew it I’d read close to a hundred pages before drawing breath. This intensity continued throughout and the book is another one of those you regret putting down for the briefest of moments when real life rudely intervenes!

Resolutely carried by Daniels the book is a clever combination of police procedural, a serial killer and characterisation, especially as far as Daniels is concerned, she drives the majority of the events in The Murder Wall, everything it seems is centred around her. Daniels is a multi-layered character and just like the changing seasons our heroine puts on a number faces throughout this title and together with her personality swings and maverick attitude to her job – and personal life – she is quite the colourful copper! She’s not perfect, her character works this way and it’s her edgy and unpredictable approach to the daily routines that make her all that more likable, certainly as far as I’m concerned. There’s a lot more to see from Daniels and I’m sure in future titles we’ll see more trials and tribulations as she progresses in her career and relationships.

One of the things I did like about all Hannah’s characters were that they were fallible, gritty and down to earth, not one would I class as pretentious – possibly the ACC Martin at a stretch – but they all had something to offer the storyline.

Another character who made the mark in this book was Jo Soulsby, friend and colleague to Kate Daniels. Combining her role as a criminal profiler for Northumbria police and psychologist to the Regional Psychology Service, Jo plays a significant and intriguing role in Hannah’s novel. As with Daniels, Soulsby can come across as crabby and cantankerous at times but just like Daniels she also has a lot of redeeming qualities about her.

There’s a high dependency on team work in The Murder Wall and the scenes held within the murder incident room were bang on the money, right down to the use of warrant cards to access confidential police databases to name but one example. Mari Hannah draws on her own experiences as a former probation officer and together with numerous police contacts delivers a well-researched novel.

The story itself is well developed and there are things mentioned at the beginning of the novel that are cleverly utilised and put to bed later in the book. I’d forgotten about a couple of scenes or events until they were re-introduced later down the line but the author does a great job of bringing those moments back to life, tying up loose ends  and utilising them to great effect. There are of course a couple of shocks along the way and a few red herrings to get you thinking one way and then another.  I would have liked the final scenes to have been a little longer and maybe more drawn out but all in all the story works very well and for a debut offering this is terrifically confident title, I certainly can’t wait for the next in the series.

Combining colourful characters, a perceptive and gripping storyline, The Murder Wall is a tremendous first title. It has certainly laid down the benchmark for future novels from Mari Hannah.

Published by Pan, The Murder Wall is available in Paperback & Kindle formats.

458 Pages

  • ISBN-10: 0330539930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330539937
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2 Responses to “The Murder Wall by Mari Hannah – Book Review”

  1. Mari says:

    Oh wow, Miles! What a wonderful review. Thank you so much. I’m knocked out by your comments. Having enjoyed The Murder Wall, you won’t have too long to wait for the second book in the Kate Daniels series. Settled Blood will be published in November.

  2. Nikki-ann says:

    Sounds fantastuc and definitely up my street. I love discovering new authors :)

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