Anita's Haven

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The 9th Hour by Claire Stibbe – my review

on 23/07/2018

Detective stories have been among my favourites ever since I can remember. This book is the first in a series, so, although its lead detective Temeke is quite an acquired taste, burdened with plenty of faults and not many likeable habits, his pitbull-like persistence and dedication might just make you a fan and follower of his further cases. Although my personal favourite would be his assistant partner Malin, as I found her more relatable at times. It will be interesting to see them grow in further books.

The crime in The 9th Hour is a series of particularly gruesome killings of teenage girls, with much to stomach – at one point it reminded me of The Silence of the Lambs. The author displays a veritable knack for telling parts of the story from the killer’s point of view, and, as disturbing as they may be, they impressed me the most. The villain is vile and fascinating, powerful and disgusting. His victims are shockingly naive, yet perfectly plausible, and not all of them what he expected them to be (yay!).

It is a risk for an author to let us know who the killer is from the start and then let us wait it out to see how, when or if he will eventually be caught, but intriguing and engaging just the same. Like me, you might find yourself having all these brilliant ideas on what you would do and who you would call; you, that is, or any other famous detective you’ve already met/read.

But Stibbe makes the detectives painfully human and susceptible to mistakes, just like the rest of us. Temeke and Malin are given no superhero powers, extraordinary abilities or phenomenal gadgetry and financial support to solve the crime. At times, even their own police department is a questionable resource of support, be it due to resentment, envy, laziness or mere inability to fathom the extent of malice in the crime itself. What is memorable, especially in the final showdown, is their tenacity, persistence and a sheer need to catch this mentally brilliant and emotionally damaged killer, also a fallible human being but unpardonable.

This is not a detective story for the faint-hearted, make no mistake. But if you enjoy an intense thriller and a pair of detectives, which obviously grows as it goes, considering the awards the author has won for the sequel, meet Temeke and Malin by all means.

This book on Amazon


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