Title: Deadly Dance by Hilary Bonner
DI David Vogel Series Book One
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 256 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
This compelling novel of psychological suspense is the first in an intriguing new series featuring Bristol detective, DI David Vogel.
The discovery of the partially-clothed body of a teenage girl in the heart of Bristol’s red light district indicates a tragic yet familiar scenario. But this marks the start of a baffling murder investigation where nothing is as it first appears. Fourteen-year-old Melanie Cooke told her mother she was visiting a school friend. Who was she really going to meet?
Detective Inspector David Vogel is led towards three very different principal protagonists, each of whom grows increasingly chilling. But are they what they seem? And is any one of them capable of murder?
A darkly complex secret lies behind Melanie’s death – and its ultimate revelation will shock Vogel and his team to the core.
The first installment in the DI David Vogel series, Deadly Dance by Hilary Bonner is a dark yet compelling police procedural.
DI David Vogel is affected more than usual when he is assigned to investigate the death of fourteen year old Melanie Cooke since he has a daughter who is the same age as the victim. He does not let this affect his investigation but he is definitely determined to bring her killer to justice. Like many murder inquiries, he and his team, DC Dawn Saslow and DS John Willis, begin with the victim’s family. Although stepfather Jim Fisher has an alibi, troubling information almost immediately comes to light. Melanie’s father, Terry Cooke, is incredibly distraught at the news but he co-operates fully with the investigation. However, DC Willis zeroes in on Terry as a suspect right from the beginning. Vogel is not convinced Terry murdered his daughter, but will the evidence prove Willis is on the right track?
Interspersed with David’s investigations are chapters written from three very different individuals. Saul desperately wants to meet and marry and turns to an online marriage website to find a bride, but will he find a woman to share his life with? Leo is gay but he is so deeply closeted he turns to hook-ups to satisfy his desires but will he change his mind after he becomes infatuated with a one-night stand? Al is a pedophile with voyeuristic tendencies but will he continue to resist acting on his fantasies? While these three men initially do not seem to have any connection to Melanie’s murder, will this change once Vogel delves deeper into the investigation?
Deadly Dance is an intriguing but rather slow-paced mystery. The investigation into Melanie’s murder is a straight-forward murder inquiry and Vogel is a by the book detective inspector who has keen instincts and a sharp intellect. The chapters written from Saul, Al and Leo’s perspectives are somewhat explicit but Al’s exploits are particularly difficult to read. These chapters are not intended to be titillating and none of their scenes are gratuitous but the subject matter is not for the faint of heart. Readers will most immediately guess the identity of Melanie’s killer, but Hilary Bonner still brings the novel to a jaw-dropping, action packed conclusion. The DI David Vogel series is off to an outstanding beginning with this first clever installment.