The second novel in the Reilly Steel series, Torn is a crime/thriller novel written by the Irish couple, Kevin and Melissa Hill, under the pseudonym, Casey Hill.
Unlike most crime novels, Torn retains most of its secrets and mysteries until the end reveal. The reader is not given the correct information throughout the novel to piece together the killer’s identity. On top of this, misdirection and misconception lead the reader astray from the killer. While this keeps seat-edges warm, it takes away from the fun and mystery of a book in this genre.
Having said this, it does add a certain ‘shock and awe’ factor to the final plot twist, having no idea it is coming.
As for the story itself, the narrative, concept, design, and delivery are all well thought out and well executed. The intricacy of the plot killings gives the book an originality and an impacting effect on the reader, particularly the foundation of high-literature, and its cultural and religious undertones.
The rustic settings contrast with the modern policing but match well the killer’s methods and reasoning, based on an old text, which in turn is based on a much older text than itself.
Battling sexism on two fronts, not only is the central protagonist a female cop, they emphasize upon this using the character of Kennedy, an old-fashioned cop who is not entirely comfortable with the position of his female co-worker. While women’s rights and freedom have greatly increased over the years, there are still some who believe they are beneath men. This book, like many others, is important for showing a strong, independent, successful, intelligent, beautiful woman, doing everything she sets her mind to.
There is a great deal of diversity amongst the characters, yet many are cliché. Take Kennedy again as an example – a set-in-his-ways cop, too chubby for his clothes, and as grumpy and cynical as they come. Plus a love for coffee, booze, dive bars, and unhealthy snacks.
However, as I said, there is a variety of characters, all with their own unique features and quirks, and each with a different, three-dimensional personality. Chris – the mysterious, brooding cop with a tragic backstory; Reilly – the strong-as-steel cog that keeps everything running; and Reuben – the snobby, upper-class Englishman who thinks he is funny.
Comedy and seriousness are well balanced. There is not so much comedy that you forget about the dark events of the story, but enough to keep it light hearted. The writing is economical, direct, and specific. A couple of things happening and being told to us seem potentially pointless and irrelevant, depending on what occurred in previous novels. In spite of that, the story moves along briskly.
I did not notice any errors or mistakes in writing whilst reading it. As for the accuracy of the police talk and processes, I cannot say.
I cannot discuss the themes of the book without giving away too much of the story, so I shall leave this review without them.
Based on everything I have written and having read the book, I believe the basic intended target audience for Torn is teens and young-adults, both male, and female.
A great read, with many twists and turns. Definitely recommended – though, if I were you, I would start with the first book in the series.