Joe Parker is Manchester’s most ingenious criminal defence lawyer. Sam Parker is Manchester’s most tenacious homicide detective. Both bear the burden of the unsolved murder of their sister fifteen years earlier. And both have a stake in a new series of murders that has shaken their city to its core. Ronnie Bagley is awaiting trial for the murder of his girlfriend and baby. Two weeks before he’s due in court he suddenly fires his defence team, claiming that there’s only one lawyer he wants to defend him: Joe Parker. Despite his misgivings about taking on the case in such strange circumstances, Joe decides to represent Bagley. Little does he know that Bagley is smarter than anyone has given him credit for, and soon Joe will find himself pitched against his own brother, Sam, in a race to outwit the most terrifying serial killer the city has ever seen. It isn’t long before Joe and Sam’s shared past comes crashing into the present in a pulse-pounding race to find out who is NEXT TO DIE…
I thoroughly enjoyed Next To Die, a well-paced out thriller that speeds up, cranking up the tension and atmosphere as the book nears its natural conclusion. Characterisation is well thought out and delivered, especially that of the serial killer. A nasty bit of work, he’s confident and completely unhinged yet appears to be in complete control of what happens – to a point!
Told through the eyes of two brothers, Joe Parker and Sam Parker, one a defence lawyer and the other a Detective Constable in the Finance unit, a policeman keen to move to the more glamorous Murder Squad. The enjoyable thing for me was the different approach both brothers brought to the case. Both are driven, Joe, intent of making sure his client escapes jail and Sam, with the aid of his police colleagues hell-bent on making sure the evidence is there to convict. Things never run smoothly – for either brother.
When Joe and Sam lost their young sister Ellie to an unknown assailant – while walking home alone one day – the family were devastated. Running alongside the main plot this arc is a terrific accompaniment and for me isn’t used as a filler, the death shaped the brothers, their career paths, and made them who and what they are today. I thought it was well thought out and adds so much back story and atmosphere to the book.
There were a couple of points in the book that had me riled up. I was so taken with certain scenarios I even wanted to punch one character – nothing like getting involved in a book and believing you are actually part of the story. You do experience a number of emotions as you work your way through the book and I liked that.
It’s pretty clear to me that Neil White writes from experience and he certainly brings that knowledge to his legal writing. A lawyer by day you do feel as if you are reading a “behind the scenes “of UK law. You gain a great insight into the courts and how the legal profession ticks. It’s an eye-opener!
Great pace, a tense and a thrilling storyline Next To Die is my first Neil White book but it certainly won’t be my last. The book moves through the gears like a highly tuned F1 car around Silverstone and the final third of the book simply flies by. It just begs to be read and I found it hard to put down.
- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Sphere (26 Sep 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0751549444