This review comes with a brief apology as well as the usual blog tour disclosure, so this was supposed to go up on the 14th June, but I wrote the date down wrong when I was entering it into my calendar and so instead I had it scheduled for today, which is the 16th, so I want to apologise to the author and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for missing my scheduled post date. Speaking of which that leads perfectly onto me saying that this will be the third book in the D.I Sterling series that I’ve reviewed as part of a promotional blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources . This isn’t the first blog tour I’ve taken part in, you can check out two by clicking here and here. If you want to find out what I had to say about the two previous instalments in the D.I Sterling series then you can click here and here. Anyway, even though this blog post is part of promotional tour you can still expect it to be as honest, unbiased and fair as any other review on my site.
Before we get to the actual review, I’ll give you a quick introduction to the author Lorraine Mace, an English author, who is currently living in the Costa Del Sol. She has written several books including The Writer’s ABC Checklist, Vlad The Inhaler: Hero In The Making and Notes from the Margin: A Writer’s Life as well as most recently the three current instalments in the D.I Sterling series which I’ve reviewed recently and you can read here or via the links above. I plan to interview Lorraine Mace in the near future but in the meantime you can find out more about the author by following her on Twitter or by checking out her website.
So that’s the author, and next, let’s find out a little about the series as a whole and the book specifically, the series follows Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling, our stalwart main character as he attempts to balance the inner demons which plague his personal life with the darker elements of society. Now this book specifically has D.I Sterling face off against a chameleon determined to get revenge for something in his past, so he targets people, and kills them via insulin injection, leaving nothing but a note at each crime scene. Hopefully this sounds as exciting to you as it did to me, because after reading the first two books in this series my expectations were high and I was anticipating another spectacular book.
Now first off, I’ve noticed that as the series progresses it can lose some of what made it great, it loses that forward momentum, but in the case of Lorraine Mace’s series that’s not the case. It found its feet early and goes from strength to strength. I don’t want to keep comparing Mace to other authors, but on the other hand I’ve done it in the previous two reviews and wouldn’t want to break tradition, so I need to say it’s a lot like the Inspector Rebus books by Ian Rankin, there’s a solid story and flow of character and theme that carries over between each standalone narrative. It takes a great talent to manage that well, and that talent is encapsulated in Mace’s writing.
I’ve touched on the topic in these reviews before, I am a huge fan of the crime fiction genre and so I’ve seen a whole lot of unique ideas, as well as a lot of cliches and conventions but what I enjoyed most about Mace’s books, and especially this one in particular is that it doesn’t read too much like anything I’ve read before. In particular, insulin as a murder weapon rather than medicine, it’s a macabre twist that, pardon the pun…injects some real distinctiveness into the narrative.
Another element of Mace’s books, is that she doesn’t pull any punches with the subject matter, the previous books saw Sterling tackle a puritanical murderer and a network of child murder and sex work and this one doesn’t give us any breathing room as it shows us another part of the seedy underbelly of modern society. Which reminds me, the inclination is always to go bigger and badder with a sequel, quite literally in the case of crime fiction, but with the particular subject matter of the previous book, Mace might have crossed the line between regular and real crime, to comic supervillainy had she tried to go bigger, so instead she took a step back and just explored another very human crime, that felt less like a step back, or a deescalation but rather just another unsettling vignette in a world that is rich in crime, and disturbed people.
I mentioned up top that Mace for the most part seems fresh, and not too much like other books in the genre, one convention she does carry over from the genre at whole is that her detective’s personal life is a mess, but something is starting to shift in this book and his relationships really help to shape up the story and add a real human element to a story that shows what humans are capable of when the indulge their darker impulses.
So to sum up, this third instalment in the D.I Sterling series is a phenomenal read, that blends darkness and humanity, into a compelling story that I couldn’t put down. With that in mind I give Injections of Insanity a 4/5 and I’m super glad that I decided to get involved with this blog tour because I might not have encountered this series otherwise, that being said I am certain that Mace’s going to be catapulted into the starlight with these books. You can grab this for yourself over on Amazon, and get the rest of the series by clicking here, here and here.
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