Dead to Me by Stephen Edger
Published: August 2017
Dead to Me by Stephen Edger is the 1st in the Detective Kate Matthews crime series.
Detective Inspector Kate Matthews is relatively new to this normally rather quiet precinct. She was transferred from her last position due to problems which she doesn’t really want to think about, and she needs to prove herself. Thus far, her new co-workers have not been too welcoming.
Suddenly, there have been three murders and Kate finds herself in the middle of all of them. After working a bit on two of them, she is assigned the third case, a woman who has been tortured to death. Kate thinks there may be a serial killer on the loose, but does not share her information with the detectives who were assigned the other two cases. Even when she is being threatened, and being given insider information to the other killings, Kate keeps silent.
Kate’s personal life is also keeping her busy, although with Kate, the job apparently comes first. She has no time for romance, little for friendship, and even less for her aging mother who is in a nursing home. Now she is being burdened with looking after (I say this loosely) her 6-year old daughter for a few days. Chloe is generally in her dad’s custody, but he has an emergency, and can’t find anyone else to look after his daughter. Says a lot about Kate’s character that she was the last resort.
Admittedly, I loathed the character of Kate Matthews. I wouldn’t have had a problem if she was fired for insubordination and reckless endangerment of her own colleagues, and permanently banned access to her child. I know that once or twice, she left her child in the apartment by herself while she ran out, even when she thought there might be someone in the building. Then, having her try to drag subordinates down with her by requesting they perform some rather questionable actions was reprehensible. It really annoys me when an author has given a woman a relatively high-ranking position, and then has her behave like a rookie. It would be one thing if you were writing a series about a bad cop, or someone on the take, but I don’t think the author has that in mind for the character. Kate continually jeopardizes the case, her co-workers and her daughter. It is one thing to have a flawed detective (as many current books do), but it is another to have that character not only disrespects authority, she disrespects her colleagues, friends and motherhood. The fact that I could not relate to, had no respect for, and totally disliked the protagonist in this story, led to my low rating.
Glad I got that off my chest !
So, why did I keep reading? Several reasons.
First, I still can’t quite give up on a book. Second, I received the next book in this series through NetGalley, so felt I should read this first.
I also continued to read it because I figured that sooner or later Kate Matthews would redeem herself. She eventually did so, (about 75-80% in) – too little, too late. I was already too disgusted with her behaviour. However, the book has a really good plot, is well-paced, and full of suspense. The writing is excellent. The ending was a surprise, although it didn’t follow any evidence in the first 92% of the book, and I did not like the way the killer was dealt with. It didn’t feel right. All of these things contribute to my dismal rating. However, it could so easily have been a 4 star book if the main character had not been so offensive.
This book angered me (not many do). Actually, the author angered me by creating a well-educated woman whose career and self would become first priority over family and others, and her lack of ethics and morality did not jive with her job title. I really hope the second in the series is better….I think I’ll read something else in between so that I don’t carry over and residual anger.
I guess this book was just not for me. I have read other reviews of this book, from people who really enjoyed it, so….to each their own.
Read: January 2018
Favorite Quotes from Dead to Me:
“Nothing ever quite compared to the buzz of a new crime scene, an untouched puzzle fresh out of the box.”
“‘Remember to always apply the “ABC” principle, Laura: assume nothing; believe nothing; check everything.”
About the Author: Stephen Edger is a British crime and thriller author. He works in the financial industry, and has a law degree. In addition to this, he has a wife, 2 children, and 2 Westies. Not sure where he found time to write over a dozen novels.