The Cutting Room
by Ashley Dyer
Publication Day : June 18, 2019
Pages : 448
Synopsis From Publisher :
Detectives Ruth Lake and Greg Carver, introduced in the electrifying Splinter in the Blood, must stop a serial killer whose victims are the centerpiece of his macabre works of art.
While Britain is obsessed with the newest hit true-crime television show, Fact, or Fable? detectives Ruth Lake and Greg Carver are tormented by a fiendish flesh-and-blood killer on the loose.
Lured to a “crime scene” by a mysterious digital invitation, Ruth Lake is horrified by what she finds: a bizarre and gruesome tableau surrounded by a crowd of gawkers. The deadly work is the latest “art installation” designed by a diabolical criminal dubbed the Ferryman. Not only is this criminal cold-blooded; he’s a narcissistic exhibitionist desperate for an audience. He’s also clever at promoting his deadly handiwork. Exploiting England’s current true-crime craze, he uses social media to titillate and terrorize the public.
Ruth is joined in the investigation by her partner Greg Carver, who is slowly regaining his strength after a run-in with another sadistic criminal. But Greg can’t seem to shake the bewildering effects of the head wound that nearly ended him. Are the strange auras blurring his vision an annoying side effect of his injury, or could they be something more . . . a tool to help him see a person’s true nature?
This time last year, I was telling anyone who would listen about Splinter In The Blood ; book one of the Lake and Carver series. What I praised most was Dyer’s ability to create an original serial killer thriller. Although The Cutting Room is a more traditional serial killer thriller, the endearing characters, a truly horrifying crime, and the forensic details makes The Cutting Room a stand out in the crowded serial killer thriller genre.
In Liverpool England young men are disappearing without a trace. When the bodies of the young men surface, they are featured in “art” pieces, created by a sadistic killer. This killer craves attention and is using social media to draw supporters. The killer’s followers are creating chaos at crime scenes and taunting police while they are investigating. With mounting pressure from their superior officers and the press, Detective Sargent Ruth Lake and Detective Chief Inspector Greg Carver work against a ticking clock to catch a killer who seems to be ten steps ahead of them.
The Cutting Room picks up a few months after the events in Splinter In The Blood. Ruth and Greg are still recovering mentally and physically from their injuries. Greg’s head injury is making his recovery more difficult, as the damage seems to be long term. Due to Greg’s injury he is now able to read auras. This ability comes in handy but he is still getting use to this new ability and it is sometimes distracting. Greg’s ability does not enable him to see when someone is lying, but as a seasoned police officer, I am sure he does not need to read someone’s aura to know if someone is lying. However Greg’s new ability allows him to read moods and emotions. He now knows when his team needs to be motived or when a witness requires more aggression. Making him an even better detective and boss.
After reading Splinter In The Blood, I was really hoping to learn more about Ruth Lake. My wish was granted. In The Cutting Room we learn about Ruth’s family and a bit of her life as a crime scene investigator. Ruth Lake, even from the pages of a book, illuminates complexity. Each new piece of information adds another layer to her story. While The Cutting Room answers a few questions about Ruth, new questions have emerged.
In The Cutting Room we get to experience Ruth and Greg in investigative mode. In Splinter In The Blood, the killer was already identified when the book began. Ruth and Greg are dedicated and relentless investigators. Ruth uses her instincts and CSI knowledge to crack suspects during an interrogation, while Greg is able sift through loads of information to get to the next lead.
The Cutting Room is loaded with forensic detail. In other books, I sometimes find these details hard to follow and a bit boring. However in The Cutting Room, these details are laid out in a way which was comprehensive and intriguing. I was surprised when I found myself enjoying the parts of the book when Ruth and or Greg met with the medical examiner more than the central mystery. The intense focus on forensics made The Cutting Room not only thrilling but informative as well.
I suggest readers start with book one of the series, Splinter In The Blood. Not only because you will have more background on Ruth and Greg but because it was a fantastic book. I am hoping that each summer I will be praising an installment of the Lake and Carver series.
*Thanks to William Morrow for my free review copy of The Cutting Room*
Murder and Moore Rating:
5 out of 5 Stars