Saturday, January 14, 2017

Book Review: Too Close For Comfort (Knight & Culverhouse) by Adam Croft

Too Close Makes the Story Too Limited

Too Close for Comfort is the story of DS Wendy Knight’s investigation into a serial killer who, according to the title and the author’s synopsis is ‘too close for comfort.’

In general, the story is well paced.  Of course, if you are going to find a serial killer who is on a one-victim-per-day killing spree in 182 pages, you’ll have to keep moving.  The dialog was good.  For the American reading audience, you’ll need to do a few mental translations and brush up on British law enforcement acronyms, like DS.  I found most online, but was stumped by a few.  Nonetheless, the intent was always clear.

Character development could have used some work, as what we were told about people often seemed at odds with their behavior.  For example, in the first few pages, Knight’s reaction upon hearing she is part of a murder investigation seems inexplicable given what we were told of her aspirations and life history.  I also found some of the characters’ interactions strained.  The friction between Knight and Culverhouse, in particular, was much more than good-natured workplace ribbing, to the point of being dysfunctional and juvenile in places.  But for me, the greatest limitation in the book was the level of the mystery/suspense/tension.  It was low.  Knowing that the serial killer is close, and having a protagonist whose attachments you can count on one hand – and use only two of your fingers doing so – gives the author little latitude to create tension.

Overall, Too Close for Comfort is a quick read with good action and pacing, but you’ll need to deal with some predictability and some inconsistencies in character development.