Saturday, March 27, 2021

Review: The Faceless Man by Helen H. Durrant

by Helen H. Durrant
Release Date: February 25th 2021
2021 Joffe Books
Kindle Edition; 224 Pages
ISBN: 978-1789317169
Genre: Fiction / Mystery 
Source: Review copy from publisher

2.5 / 5 Stars

A teenage boy is found murdered in a local park. Stabbed to death and set alight to destroy the evidence.

Detectives Harry Lennox and Jess Wilde soon learn his identity and find his bedroom wall decorated with photographs of the victims of unsolved murders.

There are images of three people who appear to be the next victims. One of them is the faceless man, a blank cut-out with no features.

Jess and Harry must find the killer before the next target dies. And Harry is guarding a secret that could destroy everything he’s built.
My Thoughts
The Faceless Man is one of those books that I actually had to stop reading and double-check the front cover as I really thought I had opened the wrong book and was reading something else at first.  I have read many books by this author and have enjoyed them tremendously, but this one was different right from the get-go.  And I don't mean the story, as of course that would be different, but the whole tone as well as the whole writing style  I really felt like I was reading a book by a completely different author.
I will admit that I did not read the first book in this series so I did feel at a disadvantage, but at this point I am in no hurry to read it as I wasn't invested enough in this one to do so.  While I was intrigued by the mystery presented by Harry and his twin, Paul, and what that might represent, I just didn't connect with him personally and his struggles.  Usually when a character is harbouring a big secret, I get invested in what is happening as I love secrets and look for those clues that may give it away.  However, his character was a little blah and didn't really grow or progress throughout the book and I thought the focus on this 'big secret' was a little much.  It should have been woven throughout the story rather than thrown in your face so much, with characters even from his past showing up to threaten him with the truth being outed as if the reader couldn't figure out there was a big problem.  
I love police procedurals and tend to gravitate towards them like bees to honey.  Although it was quite easy to figure out who was the culprit, which is often the case for me, I love to follow along and see how the police / detectives / investigators get to the truth as I find it interesting.  While the race to find the killer is always fun, there were times when I felt the author was trying too hard to build up a mystery that was thin at best by putting in filler stuff that was, quite frankly, useless.   And while I am not against characters who are awful as I find them intriguing, I am against using them just to create angst in a book which doesn't usually work all that well.  
The Faceless Man is one of those books I wish I could have liked a bit more than I did.  While some of the aspects of the case were intriguing,  I thought the actual mystery was quite thin and very easy to figure out.  I also thought the characters were quite one-dimensional, with little growth to them.  I do recommend you try one of the books in another series (Calladine & Bayliss is a great one) by this author however, as I did enjoy them very much and it would be a great place to start if you are not familiar with her work.