Just Finished Reading: Dirty Little Lies by John Macken
Forensic scientist Reuben Maitland is on the verge of a breakthrough in crime detection. He has developed a method, called predictive profiling, whereby DNA samples can be used to produce computer images of anyone present at a crime scene. But, suspicious of his wife, Maitland tests it on a hair sample found in his own bed – a hair sample he suspects is not his own. When his misuse of police time comes to light Maitland is fired from his position in the UK’s elite crime squad but begins to suspect that other forces are at work that used his lapse of judgement as an excuse to remove him. An internal power grab erupts forcing everyone to choose sides and in the midst of everything is a killer determined to undermine the belief in DNA evidence by killing the very scientists that use it.
This is not my usual read – at all. I am not a fan of CSI or NCIS and have only a passing interest in forensics. However, I was gripped by this book and raced through the 500+ pages in a matter of days. Maitland is a great character and I will enjoy reading more of his (mis)adventures in future – as this was the first book in a series of at least 3 to date. I was a bit concerned that the inevitable details of death and mutilation would be excessively detailed in an attempt to ‘out-gross’ the opposition. Happily this was not the case. Macken managed to weave a not too complex plot into a more than acceptable thriller complete with snappy dialogue, seedy locations, personal problems and a fair amount of black humour. Although not exactly intellectually stimulating – except maybe for the brief discussion about the potential misuse of this powerful technology – this was a highly entertaining thriller that certainly delivered everything it promised. The comparative novelty factor probably helped but I think this can stand out even in the crowded forensic thriller genre. Recommended for anyone who likes their thrills dark and bloody.