THE MURDERERS' CLUB
P.D. Martin

 


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Pan Macmillan Australia, This edition first published Nov 2006
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill

In cyber-space four people meet in a chat room. Thereís nothing unusual in that except that these four are all serial killers and they have formed a club: THE MURDERERSí CLUB. The purpose is to organise murders and enjoy their own and each othersí activities. With the exception of the president, they only know each other by their internet names: Black Widow, NeverCaught, DialM and AmericanPsycho.

Melbourne-born Sophie Anderson works at the FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit as a profiler. Not only is she a gifted profiler, but Sophie has another gift, or is it a curse? Sheís not sure. Unbeknown to everyone except her friend Darren Carter, Sophie occasionally has psychic dreams when working on cases. Darren is a homicide detective in Arizona and the two became friends when working together on a case that nearly cost Sophie her life.

When Darren invites Sophie to spend some of her vacation time with him, she accepts, thinking it will help her recover and come to terms with her ďgiftĒ. But only hours after Sophieís arrival the body of a murdered woman is discovered on the local University Campus and she begins having more horrific dreams.

THE MURDERERSí CLUB is a clever premise. Itís a book in two parts: the killers and the police. Initially the readers have the advantage, because we know something of the set up of the crimes. We learn about the killers and their individual personalities and quirks via their chat logs. It makes chilling reading.

As the investigation progresses, the gap between the readersí knowledge and what the police know gradually narrows until the two converge and the case is solved. And thatís where much of the suspense in the book lies. While the reader is privy to the serial killer chat room conversations, we donít know their identities. But it is possible to figure it out by putting together the two components of the story.

Iíll be honest here. Iím not a fan of supernatural/psychic themes in crime fiction, so it was with a great deal of trepidation that I began reading THE MURDERERSí CLUB. I neednít have worried. This isnít a case of solving the crime by a blinding psychic vision. Sophieís dreams serve as one of a number of resources she and Darren use to assist in solving the case. The dreams offer a direction in which to take the theories that are developed in the course of the investigation.

THE MURDERERS CLUB is P.D. Martinís second novel in the series. While it would be helpful to read the books in order, there is enough information in THE MURDERERSí CLUB for the reader to treat the book as a stand alone.

With Sophie gradually coming to terms with her psychic ability and learning to harness it rather than trying to ignore it, it is a series that has a lot of potential and may well gain many fans. If youíre one of the many who enjoy the TV show Medium then P.D. Martinís books will be right up your alley.

Jan 2007 review originally published at Murder & Mayhem

 

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