With overtones of the political thriller, this crime novel from Bill Kitson is the latest in his seriesfeaturing DI Mike Nash. I hadn’t come across the author or his previous novels before I found this novel on the publisher’s website. Fantastic Books Publishing have done their usual great job in finding and exposing new and vibrant talent by giving this Bill Kitson an airing.
Written in the taut and pacey style of a good thriller, the book nevertheless develops the characters into fully fledged human beings, some of them definitely people you would not want to meet down a dark alley. Contrasting the evil of the antagonists is the basic goodness, flawed and imperfect, of the protagonists. And the developing, though uncertain, romance between police detective and local photojournalist brings light and warmth to what might otherwise be a tough read.
Bill Kitson exposes the underbelly of the world of the ambitious politician and lays bare the motivation and self-obsession of the psychotic criminal, getting deep into the minds of these unsavoury and dangerous characters. The reader is drawn into a world populated by nasty individuals whose only concerns lie in the furtherance of their own power or pleasure.
Struggling against this background, the world-weary detective has to deal with his own demons and a history of broken relationships, which superficially appear to have been no more than sexual encounters and even, perhaps, conquests. He must also work under the growing suspicion that those who control him in the chain of command are not what they should be.
Helping the male lead fight the dangers, doubts and difficulties of a case that grows more complex by the hour, is the overworked but basically honest and able reporter-cum-photographer working to keep the local newspaper afloat. She is the love interest and, as a strong woman with a mind of her own, lends balance to the relationship as well as to the story.
In the middle of all the political, criminal and sexual misdemeanours stands another victim, central to the plot and both controlling and controlled by the action. His position is one of impossibility; a situation that must eventually be resolved in the only way feasible.
This is a novel about murder, ambition, honesty, corruption, infidelity, lust, love, and justice. It is more than simply a crime thriller and manages to comment on the darker side of society without preaching. As regular readers of my reviews will know, character is the most vital element in a novel for me. This one is populated by real people: flawed, human, likeable or not, these are people who walk our streets, people you might meet in life. Some of them you would not want to exchange the time of day with, others you would avoid like the proverbial plague and others you would be happy to befriend.
I enjoyed the read and will be reading more of this author’s work in the future. I heartily recommend Minds That Hate to those who enjoy their fiction with depth as well as action.