Fifty Two Weeks of Murder

Location: 1847, double-header.

Category: Crime thrillers

Chosen by: Rachael

A brand new shiny debut author—so new we might be the first to review this novel—how exciting! I was even lucky enough to interview the author, and you can read his thoughts here.

You might be fooled into thinking that 52 Weeks of Murder does just what it says on the cover. But that would be massively underestimating the reach of this new crime thriller. Not just your standard whodunnit, the novel is unconventional (like us!) in many ways. None of which I’ll spoil for you here other than those already revealed in the blurb.

The plot is atypical—rather than trying to discover who the murderer is, we are introduced to him in the opening chapter, wealthy Lord Buckland, as he sets a gruesome challenge designed to cause chaos. He offers a five-million pound prize each week to the person who commits the most creative and original murder. Unsurprisingly, the murder rate increases and a special task force is put in place to catch Buckland.

Asst. Chief Constable Anders is an integral part of the team investigating the ever-more brutal murders. An unusual protagonist, Anders is a method detective from across the pond. With an interesting history of her own, she’s unlike any other crime thriller lead. Tough, methodical, uncompromising, and beautiful, she’s an almost-superhuman avenging angel.

With this novel concept, you can imagine how gory, graphic, and brutal 52 Weeks of Murder is. It should really come with a warning label: “not for the faint-hearted”. In fact, this gutsy action-packed attention-grabber almost feels like watching a TV show at times. It’s enjoyably fast-paced, quickly moving from murder to murder, and you can’t help but think “oh, I’ll just read one more chapter”. It’s also stacked with twists and is at times shocking— avoiding the common clichés of crime thrillers and often taking you down a different path than the one you were expecting.

A common criticism of crime thrillers is their sloppy writing style—but 52 Weeks of Murder is refreshingly well-written and insightful. In a genre that’s literally drowning in poorly-written novels with narrow-focused plots that blend into one and are instantly forgettable, Nichols presents a fresh and different approach to the crime thriller—challenging the genre even, and asking big questions. He offers a wider commentary on current social issues, a plot you won’t feel like you’ve read somewhere before, and a fascinating, unique protagonist. If you want more from your crime thrillers, this is certainly one to pick up!

We won’t spoil the ending for you, but the novel lends itself well to a sequel or even a new crime thriller series. We certainly can’t wait for more from Anders!

Score: 7 – Do we ever score anything other than 7 these days?!