Lucifer Falls by Colin Falconer (Constable, $A29.99)
This London based crime novel by Australian author Colin Falconer was released at the end of 2018 and is a solid police procedural and a good start to a promising series.
Falconer has tried his hand before with crime novels, such as the enjoyable Rough Justice in 1999, but he is better known for historical fiction. Lucifer Falls marks a return to crime fiction for him and is an engaging start to his new series featuring DI Charlie George.
The book opens with the discovery of the crucified body of a popular priest in a derelict North London chapel. The priest is renown for his hard work with the homeless and there is no suggestion that he was involved with anything unseemly. The police are baffled as to the motive and when a second similar killing occurs they suspect that a serial killer is on the loose. With Christmas fast approaching, and under intense media scrutiny,
DI George and team desperately try to catch a killer who seems intent on harming people who are trying to do good.
Falconer has a nice easy flowing style and he skillfully mixes dry humour with horrific scenes. The book moves at a sound pace and the ending is tense and gripping. Falconer has a good sense of place and he brings to life the darker corners of London. DI George is an engaging creation, with his own demons and flaws, and the team around him is nicely sketched and interesting. The newcomer to the team, DC Lesley Lovejoy, is particularly well done and hopefully we will see more of her in future books.
Overall this is a good police thriller. It is not really a ‘whodunit’, but the investigation has some good twists and turns and Falconer maintains interest all the way through. For me some of the humour fell flat and the frequent philosophising on religion was a little bit too drawn out, but I thought it was a good start to the series and I will certainly be looking out for the next book in the series.
I would give it Four Stars
I would like to thank Hachette for sending me a copy of the book to review. A shorter version of this review originally appeared in the Canberra Weekly on 24 January 2019.