The sequel to Tony Parsons’ The Murder Bag was a book I had been looking to read for quite a long while. Having absolutely devoured The Murder Bag at the beginning of last year, I was eager to dive into the next installment of the DC Max Wolfe series and in many ways I wasn’t disappointed.
The Slaughter Man is a superbly researched thriller in which our single father, Max Wolfe, investigates the multiple murder of a wealthy family who live within a gated community that backs on to Highgate Cemetery. Like the previous story, the case echoes a notorious (yet fictional) 1970s case in which a traveler named Peter Nawkins brutally killed his fiancée’s family after they tried to stop him from marrying her.
As Wolfe races to piece together the crime, he finds himself once again stood in the Metropolitan Police’s Black Museum where, once again, history might hold the key to solving this brutal murder.
Parsons’ story is excellently told. His descriptions of London, and his will to treat it as though it were another character in the book, really brings the story to life and, once again, his nod to how history can help the present really helps drive the story along.
However, as with the previous installment, I found it hard to get started. The first few chapters seemed to struggle and it was only when the story picked up pace that I found myself gripped by the story. At times, I did begin to wonder whether I would have managed to continue to the very end of The Slaughter Man had I not read the first installment.
But that is all academic really. I did get to the end of it and, although I found the ending to be a little unsatisfactory, it was still a relatively good read. If you have read the first installment, I highly recommend reading this second edition.
4 out of 5 stars. All the makings of a truly great crime novel but trips over itself a little on the way.