Book review: A Tapping at My Door by David Jackson

A Tapping at My Door byDavid Jackson
A Tapping at My Door byDavid Jackson
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Best known for his brilliant New York detective Callum Doyle crime thrillers, David Jackson moves nearer to his Wirral home for an exciting new police series set amongst the back streets of Liverpool.

Jackson has proved himself a clever and compelling writer and A Tapping at My Door is a powerful opener… a gripping, atmospheric chiller with a spine-tingling hint of Hitchcock, a superbly drawn cast and a police procedural so authentic that it’s like tagging along with the CID.

In lead role is the complex DS Nathan Cody, a man with a troubled past whose fascinating character development promises to be one of the highlights of a deliciously dark and fast-paced series packed with edge-of-the-seat tension, grisly horrors and teasing, tantalising plot twists.

As she settles down to watch television at her home in a small residential area of Liverpool, Terri Latham is disturbed by a persistent tapping, scratching and scrabbling at her back door. What she doesn’t expect to find there is a bird, a huge, muscular raven with a beak built to tear things apart.

It is the last thing Terri Latham sees… the next morning her body is found with the dead raven spread across the place where her eyes should be and a note tied to its legs saying just one word, ‘Nevermore.’

Even the most jaded police officers are disturbed by what they have found but just as shocking is the discovery that PC Terri Latham was one of their own and her murder appears to have no motive and no real clues.

DS Nathan Cody, still bearing the scars of an undercover mission that went horrifyingly wrong, is put on the case by his fearsome boss, DCI Stella Blunt, but he is still dangerously vulnerable and struggling to focus on the job. He is also distracted by the arrival of the new member of the team, DC Megan Webley, a former girlfriend and ‘his first true love.’

As flashbacks from his past begin to intrude, Cody realises he is battling not just a deranged murderer but his own inner demons too. And then the killer strikes again and Cody realises the threat isn’t to the people of Liverpool after all… it’s to the police.

Jackson pulls out all the stops as he sweeps us into his perfectly executed thriller, playing not just with our senses and fears but with our emotions and expectations.

Written with the author’s trademark cool head, wry humour and flawless style, this is a story that draws you in from the terrifying opening sequences, through the machinations of a cold-blooded killer and on to the electrifying climax.

Cody, Webley and their redoubtable boss, Blunt, make a cracking new detective team and their exploits in Hope To Die, the next in the series, will be eagerly anticipated.

(Zaffre, paperback, £7.99)