Year 5 / Book 12: After You Die

13) After You Die by Eva Dolan

I’m a great fan of Eva Dolan’s Zigic & Ferreira series of police procedurals (you can read my review of the previous episode here: Tell No Tales), and much enjoyed the first two I’d ploughed through. This third installment starts pretty bleakly: a woman is found murdered, and her disabled daughter is also found dead upstairs….but she died two days later from neglect. And so we are off, with Ferreira recovering from what happened at the end of the previous book, and Zigic preparing for the arrival of his third child – and juggling all of this while trying to solve the crime.

The plot is convoluted: it involves, amongst other things, online bullying, religiously motivated harassment (about right to die), internet dating, fostering and a boy who is housed in secure surroundings for unknown reasons (until later in the book at least). It makes for lots of suspects, but a rather fragmented narrative – and not one that propelled me along, apart from the drama of the last few pages. All of the characters, with the exception of the police, felt a bit unreal or archetypal – this also meant I remained fairly unconvinced either by proceedings or the final reveal.

What I also liked about Dolan’s previous novels was that they felt rooted in a particular place (the East of England) and with insight into a particular community (immigrant from Europe especially). This gave them extra weight and depth and interest, but there is much less of that here, although her two protagonists remain engaging leads. I’ve got the fourth novel in the series waiting, so hopefully that will be a slight return to form.

Score: 6/10

BUY IT NOW:  After You Die (DI Zigic & DS Ferreira Book 3)

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