Monday, 16 July 2018

Book Review - First To Die by Alex Caan

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Title: First To Die
Author: Alex Caan
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Zaffre
Publication Date: 14th June 2018 
Rating: 4 Stars


Bonfire Night and St James's Park is filled with thousands of Anonymous protesters in a stand-off with the police. When a cloaked, Guido Fawkes mask-wearing body is discovered the following morning, Kate Riley and Zain Harris from the Police Crime Commissioner's office are called in.

The corpse has been eaten away by a potentially lethal and highly contagious virus. The autopsy reveals the victim was a senior civil servant, whose work in international development involved saving lives. Why would anyone want him dead? 


As the research team looking into the origins of the deadly virus scramble to discover an antidote, first one, then another pharmacist goes missing. Meanwhile, a dark truth starts to emerge about the murder victim: he was an aggressive man, whose bullying behaviour resulted in the suicide attempt of one of his former staff members.


With thirty lives potentially at stake, Kate and Zain have their work cut out for them. Can they find the two missing pharmacists in time, or will they too end up dead?

That was one intense book, I feel as though I have learned about far too about the incredibly scary world of biochemistry, and just what horrors could await the world if this was to become a reality.  My head feels fried from the amount of information i have taken in, and its already been giving me bad dreams. 

Yet I didn't find I was particularly hooked on this thriller,  nor did I have any ideas where the investigation would take us. 

I was though surprised when I referred back to the blurb after I had read a significant amount of the book and things still hadn't really occurred that were mentioned in it.  I thought I was going to be reading a fast paced thriller with a real race against time, but instead it seemed like the majority of the first half of the book was focused on one specific dead body, and that when it started to get more serious and the investigation proceeded, I found myself a bit confused. 

This may be because I am realising that I am just not keen on thrillers that involve drugs, drug trials, pharmaceutical companies and all that related industry. 

That being said I could easily see that the book was getting under my skin, and I was mildly curious as to how everything would be resolved.  The writing is very good, and it was my personal preferences clouding my enjoyment of the book. 

This was the second book featuring this police team, and although I read the first book a few years ago, I found I was struggling to remember things even with the reminder tidbits, so I would say these are best read one after the other, and Cut to the Bone is by far the better story to my eyes. 

I would though be curious to read more from the author in the future, as I suspect it was the crime that I wasn't engaging with properly, rather than anything else.  If you like slow building thrillers with a lot of explanations then this could be the book for you. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Zaffre for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

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