‘A Wash of Black' by Chris McDonald

One death, two deaths, three deaths, four.

A Wash of Black is a brilliant crime thriller to open a series, and I cannot wait to read more.

Plunged directly into the action, the novel opens with the death of Anna Symons who has been brutally mutilated and left for dead on an ice rink. Forensics examine the scene and retrieve a single page from The Threat, a fictional series used as inspiration in Anna’s killing. Scattered pages from The Threat are the only lead to finding the notorious ‘Blood Ice Killer’, and DI Erika Piper has a hunch that the killer isn’t finished just yet.

DI Erika Piper is the lead detective on the case, and she is a refreshing take on the stereotypical detective. She is genuine and hardworking, but nonetheless troubled by a brutal attack that happened just a year previously that rendered her infertile and suspended from the force whilst she recovered. Touching on the breakdown of her own relationship and newfound love interest with Tom, the intimate personalisation of Erika sets the stakes to finding the killer so much higher, and constantly had me reading ‘just one more chapter’.

Starting with such a crucial and action-packed scene, I was anxious that the plot would lose pace after the initial chapters but quite the opposite happened. After the murder of Anna, DI Piper closes in on the few suspects, working tirelessly to find the killer, but the suspects are soon murdered in a similar Threat inspired fashion. They are now investigating a serial killer.

With time running out and the Blood Ice Killer at large… who will be next?

Chris McDonald writes with such confidence and imagination that it is hard to believe he is a debut author. His characterisation of Erika is particularly striking, and the strong cast of characters will carry his next book, and any subsequent books in this series, very well. Chilling, fast-paced and immersive, this is the perfect book for lovers of crime everywhere. An addictive read which kept me guessing about the killer’s true identity until Erika’s lightbulb moment towards the end.

If you like Val McDermid and Michael Connelly, Chris McDonald must be your next read.

Thank you to the team at Red Dog Press for providing me with this manuscript, and I wish you all the best with the publication of this book. This honest review has been supplied at the request of the publisher but all the opinions given are my own.

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