Book review: Sins of the Father by Graham Hurley

Sins of the Father by Graham Hurley
Sins of the Father by Graham Hurley

Emotions are running high as West Country cop Jimmy Suttle tackles both a grisly murder and the scalding grief of his young daughter’s abduction and murder…

This is the fourth novel in top crime writer Graham Hurley’s superb series which follows the fortunes – and misfortunes – of tough DS Suttle, former apprentice to the author’s late and much-lamented Portsmouth cop Joe Faraday.

Hurley is a master of suspense and Sins of the Father, a fast-moving thriller involving the murder of an old man with a dark colonial past, weaves together the two fascinating strands of Jimmy’s troubled life.

And it’s a compelling mix as Hurley’s addictive narrative moves seamlessly between an intriguing, far-reaching murder inquiry and the desperate attempts of Jimmy’s estranged wife Lizzie to find answers to her daughter Grace’s tragic death.

Jimmy is now operating in Devon but the agonising, nightmare events which ended in the killing of Grace have led to a separation from his journalist wife and left the detective feeling totally adrift and walled away from the real world.

But reality intrudes when Rupert Moncrieff, a wealthy elderly man, is hacked to death with a machete in the bedroom of his upmarket waterside mansion. His head had been hooded in sacking during the brutal murder.

Moncrieff’s two children from two marriages, Neil and Hilary, are still living at his house, each with their own room, their own story of their father’s bullying, their own ghosts and their own motives for murder.

The murdered man had extensive connections to Britain’s former colonies in West Africa and only days before his death, a black African man had turned up at the house and said he knew Moncrieff.

As Suttle begins investigating his most challenging case yet, memories of colonial atrocities return to haunt the Moncrieff family and the inquiry takes the detective to Africa and beyond as he slowly begins to understand the damage that human beings can inflict upon one another.

Meanwhile, Lizzie is determined to turn her rage and blind helplessness at her daughter’s death into something more constructive, and starts exploring the background of Grace’s killer, Claire Dillon, in a desperate attempt to achieve closure…

Sins of the Father is a clever, complex story, harnessing the dark secrets of a dysfunctional family to the disbelief and despair of a family torn apart by a cruel and senseless killing.

Hurley creates a cast of terrific characters and delivers a tension-packed, twisting-and-turning thriller packed with mystery, danger and revelation.

Don’t miss it…

(Orion, hardback, £18.99)