The Festival Killer, Jo McCready

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

The second novel in the RJ Rox series, THE FESTIVAL KILLER is a crime novel, with a rejected manuscript at its heart. The connection between the past unsolved case of an ambassador's secret love child going missing at the Berlin Book Festival, and subsequent disappearances from similar book festivals isn't immediately obvious, but Agent Rox, and the clandestine organisation she works for known as Kingfisher, eventually find a link between them, and a well-known crime writer's most recent novel.

Being second in the series, there's a bit to the backstory of Rox that readers will need to take as a given, if they've done what I did, and come to this novel first. She's an excellent character though - flawed, realistic, and utterly determined. Even the idea of the clandestine organisation works well here, and the plot itself is nicely twisty, very clever, with just enough original ideas (vengeance isn't unusual, but a rejected manuscript and a writer's struggle with the dreaded second novel and the dilemma around adapting another's idea is territory less mined).

The story in The FESTIVAL KILLER is told in multiple voices, all of which are distinct enough to allow a reader to follow along, and when combined with that clever plot idea, compensated for an ending that sort of crashed into place, leaving a lot of questions unanswered. Definitely left this reader thinking there's perhaps a third book in the planning, although that's not my favourite method of ensuring a potential audience. Having said that, certainly made me add the first novel in the series to the "one to read" list.

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Agent RJ Rox is in charge of her first case for the clandestine organization known as Kingfisher. A ticking clock and a colleague who could make the whole assignment blow up in her face, pile on the pressure in a case that seems impossible to crack.

An ambassador’s secret love child, gone missing at the Berlin Book Festival years previously, lead her in a direction she never could have imagined . . . and back to the streets of Scotland.

As RJ searches for answers, she learns the truth is stranger than fiction when she sets her sights on a world-famous crime writer. Does a new book hold the key to the whole case, and can RJ unlock it in time?

RJ’s playing a deadly game with a killer who has something to prove—almost as much as she has. 

Review The Festival Killer, Jo McCready
Karen Chisholm
Monday, December 6, 2021

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