Who will survive?
When the murder of a colleague is linked to a series of suspicious deaths, Detective Superintendent Greg Woods’ team are tasked with solving the mystery. New to the team is Maria Barnes, whose besmirched character sadly precedes her. However Woods quickly discovers there is more to the detective sergeant than meets the eye: her skill level, knowledge base, and investigative talents far outshine his own formidable qualities…
And why is the Secret Intelligence Service so interested in Barnes and the investigation?
It’s a race against time to stop the killer, but he’s meticulous, cunning and ruthless. He leaves the police and intelligence service questioning if they are all out of their depth…
When forces contrive against them, Woods’ life hangs in the balance and for the first time in his career he risks breaking the rules… He and Barnes decide to go it alone to uncover who or what CXVI really is… The shocking truth lies at the heart of the Government and is trapped deep underground.
'CXVI - The beginning of the end' is the first book in a trilogy, of which two have already been published.
The book starts off with a number of seemingly unrelated murders that when viewed individually could well be taken for accidents or suicides, had a Roman numeral not been left at each site by the murderer. But what do these numbers signify? Why are these people being murdered? Is this serial killer choosing his victims at random or is he ticking off a list?
As soon as I started reading this book I was immediately intrigued. I wanted to know what the Roman numerals meant. I love murder mysteries where the police have to work out the meaning of some code or clue left by the murderer at the scene of the crime.
I liked the two main characters: Superintendent Greg Woods and DS Maria Barnes. Both are strong, bold characters. They are two brilliant police officers, that team up quite well together. I liked the way in which the author shrouds Barnes with a veil of mystery. What is she hiding? I could tell that there was more to this character than she's letting on to her colleagues.
Though there was clearly some kind of connection between the first victims, I couldn't figure out what Pauline, with her horses and the odd-behaving boyfriend had to do with the rest of the story. Later on I could see her relevance to the main plot and the puzzle pieces began taking shape.
However I must say that I enjoyed the first half of the book much more than the second. What started as an interesting murder investigation, trying to work out a link between the various victims, literally exploded into a complex, fast, international manhunt involving the police, the secret service and spy rings. I felt that the plot became a bit too complicated for me to follow and on occasions I had to go back and reread certain parts as I was afraid I was losing the thread.
Having said that, I certainly cannot say that this isn't a good book. It could simply be that it is not the type of book I would go for. I don't really tend to read many fast-action packed thrillers as I tend to get confused in the midst of all the action. For me, it just didn't tick the right boxes but I'm sure that the many 5-star reviews the book's got are all well justified.
Being the first in a series, the book leaves us right in the middle of a drama at the end, with more questions than answers that will surely be answered in book two of the series.
With thanks to the author for a review copy of this book.
Angie Smith was born in Doncaster and educated at Huddersfield University where she graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Education and Training. After a long career in adult education, training and performance management she retired early to pursue other ventures.
She travels extensively, and was nominated for an award for her knowledge transfer partnerships work, when she co-produced and presented a journal article at the International Social Work Conference in Durban.
Unfortunately in 2013 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and following a year of extensive and gruelling treatment her desire to write was rekindled. The novel, CXVI - The Beginning of the End, is the first in this crime thriller trilogy, CXVI Secrets Broken is the second.
She currently lives in West Yorkshire with her husband, youngest son and two dogs.