The Killing Room is the sixth in Byrne and Balzano Philadelphia crime novels. It is all as you were before, but that’s not a problem because why would you tinker with a winning formal. After all, I’m still reading them, aren’t I?
What’s the killer’s thing?
Religious fanaticism. Unpleasant deaths, and I mean very unsettling. Deals with the Devil. Abandoned churches. High level of creepiness.
What’s the situation with Byrne?
He has become a mentor to a young boy in care whose brother was killed by drug dealers. He (Byrne, not the kid) gets a bit out of control with this dealer and ends up in mandated therapy. There may be a new woman in his life.
What’s the situation with Balzano?
Has moved house and is settling down with her lovely family. She is thinking of starting to hit things professionally again. One of the victims has a particular effect on her which lingers throughout the book.
Is there anything new here?
The level of backstory for the murderer is higher than before I think, and the external influences are a bit more obvious.
What did I think of it?
I liked this entry in the series a great deal; I’ve always been one for a high level of mayhem inspired by religious mania and we have it all here; belief in the Devil, making people deliver on the deals they have made with that particular entity, murders carried out in a bizarre but well thought out way. It has to be said though that there are some similarities to the very first book, The Rosary Girls – Catholic Church in embarrassing scandal, inconvenient sleazy journalist and so on, and elements of the story echo back to Se7en (though not quite as bizarrely gruesome). It even includes a significantly nasty killer returning from an earlier entry in the series. But as always what makes these books so good is the characterisation of the two leads, the vitality of the setting, and the pace and plotting. I read it in a single sitting (again).
However, they have kind of started blurring together a bit so I am going to take a break before reading the final two entries in the series. Still very highly recommended though!