On the blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the first novel in Harry Bingham’s first book in his DC Fiona Griffiths series, Talking to the Dead.
A young girl is found dead. A prostitute is murdered. And the strangest, youngest detective in the South Wales Major Crimes Unit is about to face the fiercest test of her short career.
A woman and her six-year-old daughter are killed with chilling brutality in a dingy flat. The only clue: the platinum bank card of a long-dead tycoon, found amidst the squalor.
DC Griffiths has already proved herself dedicated to the job, but there’s another side to her she is less keen to reveal. Something to do with a mysterious two-year gap in her CV, her strange inability to cry – and a disconcerting familiarity with corpses.
Fiona is desperate to put the past behind her but as more gruesome killings follow, the case leads her inexorably back into those dark places in her own mind where another dead girl is waiting to be found . . .
Harry Bingham is a writer who has been on my must-read list for a while. Recently I decided to give the first book in his Fiona Griffiths series a go, Talking to the Dead.
We are faced with a horrific scene in the opening chapters. The body of a young woman, known to have been working as a prostitute, has been discovered. A young girl is also dead. The discovery of the young girl really cements this case in the mind of Fiona Griffiths, who is the Detective Constable working on the investigation.
Now, some readers may struggle to like Fiona. She comes across as hard and unfeeling. There is a reason for this, though, which is later explained in the book. I must admit it did take me some time to warm to her, but by the end of the book I was intrigued to learn more about her background, which I’m sure, will be revealed in later books. She is already very well developed, and you can tell that Harry Bingham has put a lot of thought and planning into this. There is definitely a lot more to learn about her. I also really liked her developing relationship with another police officer from her team, although how far this is going to develop I’m not really sure.
Although Fiona struggles to get on with living people, she is absolutely determined to solve the mystery behind the young girl and the young woman’s death. She really feels a connection to them both and is also keen to make sure they are both given the send-off that they deserve, especially as they weren’t very highly thought of in life. This is what I really admired about Fiona.
The case is quite a complex one which puts Fiona herself in a very dangerous situation as she is targeted by the people who are behind the crime. She is the only police officer on the team who is taking a serious interest in the murders, whereas her superiors are quite keen to brush the case under the carpet. I wanted to know just how Fiona was going to get herself out of this and how much closer to danger she was willing to put herself in to get justice.
Harry’s writing makes you turn the pages so easily. I became utterly immersed in the plot, and I devoured huge chunks of the book in just a couple of sittings. Highly recommended for fans of police procedurals.
Publication date: 28th March 2013
Print length: 384 pages
If you would like to purchase Talking to the Dead, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.