On the cover of my review copy of Taboo, the blurb says "Slaughter. Reichs. Cornwell. There's a new girl in town. Casey Hill." This isn't strictly true though as Casey Hill is the pseudonym of husband-and-wife writing team Kevin and Melissa Hill. Melissa Hill is a No. 1 bestseller in Ireland and her novels have been translated into 16 different languages.
Taboo is a fast-paced, action-packed crime thriller based around a vicious serial killer on the loose in Dublin. The killings, which come to be known as The Taboo Murders, remind me a bit of the film Se7en, but instead of the seven deadly sins, these crimes focus on humanity's ultimate taboos.
The leading investigator, Riley Steel (as it is spelt in my uncorrected proof but which I keep seeing as Reilly Steel elsewhere), is a California-born forensics expert who has left her native San Francisco to help bring the newly-formed Dublin forensics team up to speed with new technology and techniques. Her alcoholic father has come back to his homeland too and as the novel progresses, we get more and more glimpses into the trauma and tragedy in Riley's own life.
I got sucked in and couldn't put it down, although I did figure out exactly where it was going about halfway through, long before the big clues started being dropped, so I would have preferred a few more red herrings to keep up the suspense until the end. I also thought that the ending was a bit of an anticlimax, which was a shame after such a dramatic, adrenalin-fuelled plot.
Riley is a complex character with an interesting background so I'm not surprised to see that this is the first in a series of novels to feature her. Her burgeoning relationship with colleague Chris Delaney, feeling under the weather with a mysterious illness, as well as her family secrets, office politics (as the Dublin Garda get their nose put out of joint at the arrival of new blood from the States) and her father's booze problems are all aspects that will undoubtedly be further developed in the sequels.
I'll definitely be looking out for the next episode because it was a really enjoyable, gripping read and I'm looking forward to delving deeper into the characters of Riley and Chris. However, I hope that the next one will be harder to figure out and keep me guessing right up until the end.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £6.99 (but only £3.69 on amazon)
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (7 July 2011)
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