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Suffer the Children by Adam Creed

Here is the review I promised of Suffer the Children by Adam Creed. I received it via the LibraryThing early reviewers scheme although given the fact this was a few weeks ago, perhaps “running slightly behind reviewers” would be a better group for me!

Suffer the Children by Adam Creed

29 May, 2009 by Wulf Forrester-Barker
Book Review

Rating: 3 / 5

Book cover

This is a novel in crime genre, featuring a police detective as its hero. Looking at the fiction I read, I am clearly part of the target audience and so I started the book with great anticipation.

The hero, DI Will "Staffe" Wagstaffe is a well-regarded investigator but with a maverick streak, a painful history that he keeps hidden from most people and problems maintaining long-term romantic relationships. That sounds suspiciously like several favourite clichés but at least Staffe doesn’t have a serious drinking problem and is, generally speaking, honest and engaging.

The story, too, seems engaging and begins with some decent writing, introducing characters, settings and potential plotlines. Before long, a convicted paedophile is found brutally murdered and our hero takes on the case. At this point, I was hopeful of a good story, perhaps pondering the theme of vigilante action along the way. However, although the crime (and others that follow from it) is largely solved, Creed seems content to push over-familiar buttons and the result feels like warmed-over scraps. It is content to deliver cheap thrills rather than thought-provoking material but the recycled plot twists fail to deliver while a cold wind whistles through several large holes left by abandoned sub-stories.

I would class the work as belonging to the same class as authors such as Mo Hayder and Karin Slaughter. Plenty of people love them and there are some glimmers that would persuade me to read at least one more novel from the series if nothing else was too pressing but Creed has not yet achieved the qualities I enjoy so much in the writings of authors such as Ruth Rendell, Peter Robinson and Henning Mankell (to name a few of those I consider at the top of the game).

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