Thursday, 24 May 2012

Steps to Heaven by Wendy Cartmell

Steps to HeavenThis book is the first in the new Sgt Major Crane series, introducing the reader to the British Army Special Investigation Branch detective based at Aldershot Garrison. Crane is investigating a particularly horrific murder/suicide and discovers the dead soldier has links to an evangelical church. He is convinced there is more to the story than a soldier who returned from Afghanistan tormented by what he saw there. He is forced to drop the case until another one rears it's head with uncanny similarities. Meanwhile at home his relationship with his wife is suffering as he struggles with whether he wants to bring a child into a world like his.

I really liked the slightly different setting for this crime thriller and I find the topic of cults and less than mainstream religions quite intriguing. This set it up to be a book I could really enjoy. The story moved at a reasonable lick and some of the descriptions of the crime scenes were a bit gory if matter of fact, which is no bad thing in my opinion. I think there was room for a little more on the subject of how the dead soldiers became involved with the preacher who becomes of particular interest to Crane but otherwise the balance of providing information and progressing the plot was pretty good.

For about three quarters of the book I was really enjoying the read, and didn't want to put it down but Crane isn't always likeable and one particular revelation towards the end really affected the empathy I had with the character. It seemed either at odds with what had happened earlier or suggested he was a much darker character than I had thought. Whichever it was I felt it tainted the ending and I put the book down and started the review with a much lower rating in mind than I had expected from the bulk of the book.

I mostly liked this book but couldn't help feel such a level of distaste for Crane that it affected my overall enjoyment. Other people might have a completely different view on it and if you like a good crime thriller it's worth a look.

Format: Kindle, review copy
My Rating: 3*

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