The Twenty by Sam Holland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Twenty is the second book in Sam Holland’s intense Crime Fiction series, Major Crimes.
I very recently read the first book in the series, The Echo Man, and was blown away by it. Gritty, gruesome and gripping, the taut mystery really did it for me.
I wasn’t quite sure going in how exactly this one would be related to the first and it did take me a wee bit to figure out the connection.
These novels are set in the UK and I’m not super familiar with their criminal justice system, so please forgive me if I get the terminology wrong.
I think essentially, this involves the same large police department, but it just follows investigators at what in the U.S. would be called, a different precinct, than the first.
We aren’t following any of the same main characters as the first book, but The Echo Man crimes are alluded to and one of the investigators from the first book is mentioned a few times, as well as getting her own cameo.
Our two mains here are DCI Adam Bishop and Dr. Romilly Cole. The crimes involved are numerous, brutal and perplexing. They also connect, in a way, to Romilly’s past.
The case at the heart of the book involves bodies being found, in varying states of decomp, that have roman numerals marked above them. It quickly becomes evident that the killer is counting down and there’s a way to go.
If they can’t find this sadist and stop them in time, a lot more bodies are bound to fall.
This is another solidly-brutal and compelling story from Holland. It did take me a bit longer to get into this one; to connect, but it did pick up speed and intrigue in the second half. The end left my jaw on the floor.
There were a lot of complex relationship dynamics in this one and at times, I felt like those issues sort of overshadowed the overriding mystery. Or maybe, it would be more accurate for me to say that those relationship subplots distracted me from the overall mystery.
Because of this, the balance was a little off for my taste.
With this being said, I still found this to be a super enjoyable read. In my opinion, it would be hard to follow up The Echo Man, as it was such a fantastic debut.
I feel like Holland has succeeded with her sophomore effort. This delivered intrigue and action. It left me wanting more. Happily, it seems like with this ending, there will definitely be more books in this series.
Thank you so much to the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I cannot wait for the next book!