Thank goodness for notes! I finished this book at the start of the year, and just noticed that I'd not posted the review I wrote at the time. Which is interesting, as re-reading my notes again, I can remember just about everything about this plot. Which makes it, to my mind, a very good book.
Elena Forbes tackles something interesting in EVIL IN RETURN. Joe Logan is found carefully posed in a cemetery crypt. Shot through the head and castrated, there's something that seems deeply personal, ritualistic about the way he was killed. When Paul Khan dies in an identical manner, in a property which he shared with Joe Logan and 3 other men whilst they were at university, it's obvious there's a connection. Logan is a best selling author, his novel telling a supposedly fictional story of a group of university friends who cover up the death of a young girl. After the way the two friends are killed it's not exactly a leap of faith to consider how much of that novel isn't fictional at all, and are these killings revenge?
DI Mark Tartaglia and DS Sam Donovan are the reoccurring characters in this now third novel from Forbes. There's a nice balance of the professional and personal in all these books, with the police procedural elements, solid, believable and carefully paced. The personal is enough to give the characters a little depth, to make you feel like they are real people.
Whilst the murders are obviously gory and quite confronting there's nothing sensational or overblown about EVIL IN RETURN. The focus remains very much on the process of investigating, the connections between the victims, the possibility of revenge. There's also a particularly good sense of place in all the books, with EVIL IN RETURN taking the reader into the world of houseboat dwellers in particular.
I've been quite the fan of this series since the first book, and whilst they should work if you pick them up out of order, there's some character build up that will be better if you can read them in order. Hope there's a fourth book in the works.