Chris Carter knows how to fully delve into the psyche of his characters.
When budding thief Angela targets an unwitting victim, she receives more than she bargained for. Stealing their bag, its contents reveal a journal filled with dates of various murders. Realising the words have been written by a serial killer, a horrified Angela ensures its passed onto the police. One of their finest homicide detectives is Robert Hunter. Making it his mission to catch the killer, he has to race against time before death further tightens its grip around a terrified city.
Having been a criminal psychologist before pursuing writing, Chris Carter knows how to fully delve into the psyche of his characters. Now onto his twelfth Robert Hunter novel, he again presents a fully-formed cast of people. Carter knows how to get inside the head of his characters in a gripping, believable way. That makes reading Written in Blood a dubious pleasure. You come to understand their motivations, whether you agree with them or not.
A mark of a good book is how fast the page turns. Written in Blood definitely fits this idea in its pacey delivery. Some have scorned other authors for daring to deliver purely commercial blockbuster-ish prose. That should never be a crime, with Carter’s ability to deliver a compelling narrative easily seen. He has a cinematic flavour to his words, making it easy to imagine the dangerous world in which his characters live. Although featuring a serial killer as its villain Written in Blood isn’t a Silence of the Lambs clone but one filled with its unique take on the impact of their actions.
Those who are newcomers to this series needn’t worry about picking up previous plot threads. Carter may pay small lip-service to long-term fans but Written in Blood can be enjoyed by newer ones as well. Hunter is an interesting lead for a book series. His dogged determination and psychological insights makes him just as formidable as those he’s up against. Carter clearly knows his characters well by now, with Hunter’s analytical work practices being as fascinating as the percolating atmosphere of dread refusing to let go until the final page.
On the evidence of Written in Blood, Chris Carter and Robert Hunter aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Whilst a dark novel in these interesting times, it has a level of much-needed escapism. That’s a good thing with his latest novel proving Carter has his finger on the pulse of shadowy popular fiction.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Distributed by: Simon & Schuster Australia
Released: August 2020