Books & Literature

Book Review: Mirror Man, by Fiona McIntosh

THRILLER: The highly anticipated new crime thriller in the DCI Jack Hawksworth series.

A cop opera with heart.

The release of a new Fiona McIntosh novel is always a big deal, and none more so than the release of Mirror Man, the third in an expanding series about the dashing and debonair DCI Jack Hawksworth. Fans of Bye Bye Baby and Beautiful Death will not be disappointed by the next chapter in Jack’s life.

For chapter it is. While solidly a series of police procedurals, the series is also proving to be the crime version of a soap or space opera. This is by no means a bad thing. McIntosh clearly knows and caters to her audience, giving them both blood and gore as well as heartfelt romance.

Although it may be an anathema to fans of hard-boiled crime (I’m looking at you, Mickey Spillane and Donald Westlake), the juxtaposition of Jack’s work and Jack’s life serves to bring to the fore not only his humanity, but the reality of the people around him. McIntosh balances these elements with a deft hand. While she follows the killer on his nefarious path and does not shy away from placing us in his mind, she also shows us the strain that tracking the killer places on the nerves of the detectives of Scotland Yard and the relationships they form in the face of this adversity.

This time around, a serial killer is ridding the community of those criminals who, for whatever reason, received lenient sentences or gained an early release. While a lot of people may sympathise with the killer’s point of view, as DCI Hawksworth reminds us: a crime is a crime. Jack is charged with setting up a task force, firstly to see if the deaths are the work of a serial killer or a series of coincidences, and then to track down the killer.

This leads Jack back to a previous romance while propelling him headlong into another, while unrequited love reigns within the office. Jack works slowly and methodically to build a case toward a resolution and a charmingly unexpected take on the cliched rooftop climax.

DCI Hawksworth is everything an author or a reader could want in a character: brave yet vulnerable, strong yet gentle. McIntosh has clearly, after many years in the fantasy genre, found her hero not astride a dragon but on the streets of London. 

Long may he tread the beat.

Reviewed by DC White

Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: 1 June 2021
RRP: $32.99

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