The first commuter train of the morning slowly rumbles away from platform seven of Queen St station. And then, as the train emerges from a tunnel, the screaming starts. Hanging from the bridge ahead of them is a body. Placed neatly on the ground below him are the victim’s clothes. Why?
Detective Inspector Narey is assigned the case and then just as quickly taken off it again. Winter, now a journalist, must pursue the case for her. The line of questioning centres around the victim’s clothes – why leave them in full view? And what did the killer not leave, and where might it appear again?
To find this evil, Narey must go on to the dark web, and into immense danger…
So he bought one more item. Then another. Every time he’d die inside a little, immediate regret and self-loathing that lasted as long as it took for him to want something else. And he always did. But it was more about completion and want. If there was a gap, then it had to be filled. If there was an omission it had to be rectified. It was obsessional and compulsive. It couldn’t have been ignored even if he’d chosen to ignore it.
Let me preface this by saying that this is the first book I’ve picked up of Robertson’s Narey & Winter Series and boy, did it knock me off my feet. I would even go as far as to argue that this has now become one of my favourite crime thriller novels of all time!
I can easily become fatigued with the ‘police procedural’ structure typical of crime stories, but Robertson flips the script by having our stubborn cop, Rachel Narey, housebound due to complications with her pregnancy. However, much like of all us confined to our homes at the minute, Narey becomes increasingly bored. With a killer on the loose, the only updates she gets are from her former-police-photographer-turned-journalist husband, Nick Winter, which leads Narey take to the internet to do her investigating. This leads her to the murderabilia business. Even though this was my first rodeo with this crime solving couple, I instantly enjoyed the back-and-forth dynamic between Narey and Winter. Robertson nailed the right mix between the comedy and drama in their interactions and I liked how perfectly he managed to illustrate the couple’s stress which was heightened by the case.
As someone who is fascinated by true crime, it’s evident that Robertson has done some incredibly thorough research when it comes to the plot for Murderabilia. Now, I don’t confess to know much about the dark web other than references made in documentaries, but the vivid, rather morbid and gruesome depiction Robertson paints of this online world makes you feel like you’re right there, plunged into this universe alongside Narey and Co with every grim discovery they make.
Never has a crime thriller managed to keep me so on my toes – I nearly had an anxiety attack from all the intense red herrings and revelations. Each page brought something new and truly left you guessing as to what would happen next up until the very end.
Although, it has to be said, I had some issues with Murderabilia‘s finale. Primarily, it felt rushed. One minute we’re solving a case then we have the confrontation between the villain and our protagonist and then bam, we’re done. I understand it’s ‘oooh suspense’ to keep readers waiting until the next installment in Narey and Winter’s saga, but for a casual reader it leaves you with so many questions which I won’t deny, is great marketing and a way to get your readers coming back for more. Yet, I can’t help but feel a little bit unfulfilled while I wait for Amazon to ship the next installment in the series to my door. We went through all that tension for …. that? I need more, Craig Robertson! My anxious and fragile heart can’t take that abrupt ending!
I do think Robertson is a terrific crime writer so naturally, I am excited at the thought of picking up another book penned by him as I just couldn’t put this one down. Murderabilia is a modern and morbid update to your every day crime thriller!