George Markham has a nasty little hobby, one that erupts into an orgy of vicious sexual depravity. Patrick Kelly is a hard man. His one soft spot is his daughter, and when she falls victim to the Grantley Ripper, Kelly wants revenge. The DI in charge of the case is Kate Burrows. She feels for Kelly but her growing involvement with a known villain is putting her career at risk... As the forces of law and order and London's underworld converge in a huge manhunt, Kate fears she'll lose everything she's ever cared about... to the ladykiller.
"What's bred in the bone comes out in the blood."
I was 'pressed' into reading this book by my dear wife who has practically devoured it on a recent holiday and who without divulging any details has spent all holiday telling me what a great book she was reading.
Finally I gave in and read 'The Ladykiller', this being my first Martina Cole book ever. Now I know that my wife didn't exaggerate at all when she praised this book so much and I'm so glad to have read it myself. Written in the third person, this book showcases Martina's excellent writing skills. It is the first book in a series featuring DI Kate Burrows and Patrick Kelly.
Everyone knows that Martina Cole is up there at the very top with the best crime fiction authors, but seriously I didn't think this book would be this good. Written back in the 90s, the thoughts it evoked in my mind as I was reading are still valid today, more than two decades later.
The Grantley Ripper is making news by savagely raping and murdering women. He is terrorising the whole community. The ferocity of his attacks indicates that this man really Hates women with a capital H. One of these victims happens to be the young daughter of a local hard man, a repoman, a man feared by many, Patrick Kelly, known for his not so legal businesses around London and other places. Kelly vows to use all his means and connections to catch this sadistic murderer and make him suffer a very slow, agonising death. His daughter was the most important person for him.
DI Kate Burrows is assigned the Grantley Ripper case. She's an excellent, bright detective and she's determined to find the Ripper and lock him away for ever. But Kate Burrows has personal problems of her own.
Being assigned to the case, Kate meets Patrick Kelly and finds herself wanting to help this distraught man in this difficult moment. Though they come from very different backgrounds and with opposing ideas and beliefs, they are both immediately attracted to each other, however such a relationship is bound to compromise her career. Can a police DI have a relationship with a notorious ruthless villain?
From the beginning we know who the ripper is, just an ordinary-looking Englishman but with a secret nasty interest. All characters brought to life by Ms Cole in this thriller are multi-dimensional, realistic people with a background. I loved all the characters (except the Ripper and his mother of course), especially Kate Burrows and Patrick Kelly. I also liked a lot Willy, the scary-looking bald giant who's also Patrick's minder.
All circumstances and story lines in the book are also very believable. The murders are all gruesome and different.
This book is very realistic as it shows what horrible consequences sexual, physical and emotional abuse of children can bring about. The monster in this novel is the production of such abuse. It makes you shudder to think that nowadays in real life there are children suffering the same things this murderer has suffered as a boy. By the end I have to say that I even felt pity for this sadistic killer.
I would have preferred the Grantley Ripper case to be solved in a different method to the one chosen by the author, however, I then understood her reasoning behind this decision and it made sense. I would have also preferred shorter chapters as they are a bit longish.
Having said that, I highly recommend this book to everyone as it is certainly one of the best thrillers I have ever read.