Monday, 12 October 2015

The Killing of Bobbi Lomax by Cal Moriarty

The Killing of Bobbi Lomax
By Cal Moriarty
Published by Faber & Faber (7 May 2015)
ISBN: 978-0571305384

Publisher's description

Bobbi Lomax was the first to die, the bomb killed the prom queen on her own front lawn.

Just moments later one of the nails from the city's second bomb forced its way into the brain of property investor Peter Gudsen, killing him almost instantly.

The third bomb didn't quite kill Clark Houseman. Hovering on the brink, the rare books dealer turns out to be Detectives Sinclair and Alvarez's best hope of finding out what linked these unlikely victims, and who wanted them dead and why. But can they find the bomber before he kills again?

Set deep in the religious heartlands of America, The Killing of Bobbi Lomax follows this troubled investigation as a narrative of deceit, corruption and forgery emerges, with an unlikely hero at its heart - a rare coins, books and manuscript dealer - who could either be a genius or the devil.

My verdict
The Killing of Bobbi Lomax is a retro crime novel with a tight complex plot.

In 1983, a series of bombings kill two people and injure a third. The surviving victim seems to be the detectives' best hope to find out why. The race is on to stop more bombings and uncover the perpetrator.

The plot focuses on religious cults and counterfeiting. Its multiple layers are gradually peeled back to reveal the underlying reasons for the bombings. Thanks to the 1980s setting, the detectives have to use old-fashioned techniques of interviewing all suspects, assessing crime scenes on site and putting all the clues together to solve the crime.

I enjoyed the authentic 1980s feel and the book was well written and well plotted. But having read some other reviews, I expected the book to have more of a wow factor. I don't think I connected with any of the characters, although Clark was a real scoundrel at heart and some of his actions made me laugh. Yet I still give the book four stars for its originality. It's a great debut.

I received an Advance Reader Copy from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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