A Hard Winter Rain - John Inman

I'm kind of confused in my reaction to this book.

 

The thriller part of it was written very well - it was suspenseful the whole time and I couldn't stopped reading, even though during some of the horrid parts, I wanted to. The horror went a little bit over the top on one occasion

(the part where he masturbated in the window and felt gleeful about (accidentally) killing the small child felt like too much, had no connection plot-wise and it seemed like the author wanted to make the reader loathe him even more - kind of unnecessary, in my opinion - plus it wasn't coherent with the killer's religious motivation - why would he be happy about something like that?)

(show spoiler)

, but other than that, while gruesome, everything was connected and felt realistic (in an insane way).

 

I loved the detectives investigating the case - while the gallows humour was too much for me on occasion, it was a believable way for them to cope with what they were seeing in their day-to-day job. I seriously like that, while there was gay romance in this book, the detectives were both straight, but not homophobic at all. There were also some great and colourful side characters, including some strong and powerful women (loved Stella!). On the other hand, some of the side characters felt a little bit like racist caricatures, but I'm hoping they were presented as such to characterise the characters from whose point of view the author was showing them, because there was also some great racial diversity in the main characters and they weren't presented that way at all.

 

What I had trouble with was the romance - there were I-love-you's exchanged, but I couldn't feel the chemistry between Sean and Harry, couldn't really understand what would have made them fall for each other, after having only met 3-4 times before (it's kind of believable for a 45-year-old guy to fall for a pretty rentboy, but the opposite?). Other than that, even though he was trying to give reasons for his actions, there was no excuse for Harry to keep away from the police. I mean, he was ex-military and a rather reasonable man! Why would he have such distrust for the police? Thinking he could protect Sean on his own, with a single gun, against a brutal murderer, just doesn't seem like something he would do with a background like that.

And keeping the windows uncurtained, so the killer could just shoot them without even showing himself? Even I could understand it was a bad idea, and I don't know the first thing about guns and dangerous situations.

(show spoiler)

 

Because of the reasons given in the previous paragraph, I'm sticking with 3 stars, but if you don't mind a little stupidity from your imaginary characters, give this book a go - as said, the suspense is written very well.