Book Review: Rachel Lynch – Deep Fear (DI Kelly Porter book 2)

Deep Fear is the exciting second instalment in the promising DI Kelly Porter series. Often, a great book which kicks off a series will be followed by a second which fails to live up to the high expectations created by the first, but this is not the case here. I will say right now that this review contains spoilers.

The first thing I noticed about this book – and which I hope continues throughout the rest of the series – is the level of detail with which Rachel Lynch creates her characters to turn them into people. Obviously, we know a lot more about Kelly Porter’s life than the others, but through her interactions with those others we find out little bits of information which help create the world she lives in. Take her mother, Wendy – it’s never explicitly stated, but we know that she is a kind person who wants to help people, although a lot of the time that kindness is misplaced. We also see her own internal struggles with caring for both her daughters, Kelly and Nikki, who don’t get along and who need to care more for HER now. Nikki hasn’t had quite as much development as of yet, but hopefully she becomes less despisable following her ordeal in the latter stages of this story.

At the heart of this mystery is some clever deception. Although we are directed all along to believe that the criminal in question is a man, she turns out to be a woman. There’s some excellent writing throughout as we get an insight into the mind of a psychopath. Although there’s a few loose ends which I haven’t been able to tie up, and Kelly and ‘The Teacher’ coming face to face in a toilet was a little bit convenient, this is another dark, roaring thriller.

What makes it so dark is the cold, harsh descriptions. There are lengthy depictions of autopsies, thoughts about death and the realities of being on the tail of a mastermind criminal (with press lurking and genuine fear from the public) which juxtapose so much with depictions of the local Cumbrian natural beauty and Kelly’s own love life. It makes the crimes that much more impactful than in a lot of other novels which I’ve read.

Moving forward – which I’ll be doing in a few weeks time with book 3, ‘Dead End’, I hope that some of the members of Porter’s team get some more in depth development. I enjoyed the hints into Rob Shawcross’ personal life, and I think there’s a genuine side plot which could be explored with his development into an experienced officer, and I found Emma Hide’s interests in literature intriguing too. Even through the bits of information we’re drip fed, it helps transform them from being just 2D characters to real people with lives and problems and interests.

I’m very happy I bought the first 3 of Rachel Lynch’s series together, as it means I can read them how and as I want. Although this one took me a few weeks to read, some books you just can’t rush. A couple more books this good, and DI Kelly Porter will deserve to be a household name akin to John Rebus and Jack Reacher.

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