Thomas Keller knows exactly who he’s looking for. They tried to keep them apart, but when he finds her, he’s going to keep her. Just like he knows she wants him to. DI Sean Corrigan is not like other detectives. His dark past has given him the ability to step into a crime scene and see it through the offender’s eyes. He understands what drives a person to commit terrible acts – but sometimes his gift feels more like a curse. When women start disappearing from their homes in broad daylight, Corrigan’s Murder Investigation Team is reluctant to take on a missing persons case. But then the first body turns up, and Corrigan knows he must quickly get into the mind of the murderer. Because this killer knows exactly who he wants. And he won’t stop until he finds her.

Having been metaphorically blown away by Delaney’s debut Cold-Killing , I was as keen as mustard to get stuck into the next in the DI Luke Corrigan series, The Keeper, which promised much and delivered even more. Building on the exceptional characterisation in the first, we are further enveloped in the world of this smarter than average police officer with his unique perception of the criminal mind…

Once again drawing on the experience gained in his former life as a police officer, Delaney has constructed a central plot that is both thrilling and chilling in equal measure. Focusing on a random nutter, imprisoning women in the vain and misguided hope of recapturing the magic of a childhood experience, Delaney captures all the nuances of a delusional mind and the inherent fear of his captives, and captures perfectly the claustrophobia and tension of their experience. There is perhaps a little too much repetition of the nefarious goings-on in the psychopath’s tracksuit bottoms, but essentially the strange imaginings and brutality of this particular individual will keep you thoroughly unsettled. Needless to say, I was worried enough by the actions of said nutter to warrant me keeping a much closer eye on my own postman- our killer’s day job- but what really sold this book to me was Delaney’s building on the strong characterisation of the first book in both his regular and new characters.

DI Sean Corrigan is a marvellous creation, and I like the multi-faceted aspects of his character. To all intents and purposes he is a normal copper in terms of his fairly settled home life and utter professionalism in his duty to the job. However, he has a remarkable insight in to the twisted mind, gleaned from the less than harmonious events of his childhood, and his ability to enter the killer’s mind and to effortlessly tap into their motivation. Although his actions arouse the suspicions of his colleagues no-one can deny his powers of perception, and Delaney in introducing the character of criminal psychologist Anna provides an interesting dimension to Corrigan’s unique ability, and the resistance he puts up to others who seek to challenge or get inside his mind. Likewise, the character of DS Sally Jones is explored further after her horrific experiences in the previous book, and her tentative journey back from recovery and the effects these events have had on her are, to me, the most moving aspect of the book, effortlessly gaining the empathy of the reader. So few male writers can really characterise female characters in a believable way, but Delaney has the knack, not only in the personal trials of Jones and the fiercely independent mind of Anna, but also as regards the captive women who find themselves at the mercy of the killer. A rare feat indeed.

So all in all what we have is a great second book, building on and extending the characters of the first, but all wrapped in a gripping plot that will keep any crime fiction fan on the edge of their seat. If you haven’t discovered Delaney yet, go now and seek him out- you won’t regret it!

 And a little Luke Delaney bonus for you e-reading folk….

1993. The Parkside Rapist has been terrorising the women of South London, and Detective Chief Superintendent Charlie Bannan is in need of a secret weapon if he’s going to catch this particular monster. When fresh-faced PC Sean Corrigan is transferred to join the team, Bannan immediately spots his potential. Soon Sean will find himself exploring the scars his own dark past has left him in the race to help his new mentor catch their quarry before he goes on to commit more, and worse crimes…

A small but perfectly formed short story  which effectively introduces us to the fledgling career of the now DI Sean Corrigan, and marking the start of his extraordinary ability to truly enter the mind of a killer, despite the ridicule and suspicions of his colleagues. If you’re not quite ready to commit to Cold Killing or The Keeper, or likewise you are a fan of both, this is a nice little side dish to the full length novels…

Luke Delaney joined the Metropolitan Police Service in the late 1980s and his first posting was to an inner city area of South East London notorious for high levels of crime and extreme violence. He was later asked to join the CID where he investigated murders ranging from those committed by fledgling serial killers to gangland assassinations. Follow on Twitter @LukeDelaneyUK

Read my review of Cold Killing (Sean Corrigan 1) here: Luke Delaney- Cold Killing.

(With thanks to HarperCollins and Kate @KillerReads for the ARC)

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