Review of ‘Perfect Remains’ by Helen Fields

I bought this book during an Amazon deal a couple of months back. From the description of the novel it sounded right up my street, a twisted killer and the winding hunt to catch him.

But for some reason I just could not get lost in this book. It was well written, that’s for sure. I can’t really fault it in any specific way it’s just that for a crime thriller it wasn’t all that… well… thrilling.

When I really thought about it, I think the novel has two major points that let it down. Firstly, the killer’s identity. In my opinion, it’s a very very difficult task to reveal the killer’s identity early on in a hotline and still maintain the level of tension and suspense required for a successful thriller. Unfortunately, Fields doesn’t manage to achieve this. There was no real threat. It felt as though we knew the killer too well, we knew his connections, the ins and outs of much of his day to day life, there really wasn’t very much that was kept hidden from us.

The second thing that I felt let the novel down was the main character. DI Callanach is a bit of a dick. And not in the humorous, almost charming way. I think by bringing in the plot-line involving Astrid Fields had intended to make Callanach sympathetic. But I think if anything it sort of backfired. We see him use a total stranger to try and combat his own sexual impiety and then take out his frustration on her. But there’s something more than that. I can’t quite put my finger on it. He just isn’t likeable.

Finally, I think too much of the book is spent in the station, slowly mulling over things. There’s very little action. The novel is too slow, and ultimately, everything  a crime thriller should not be. But that isn’t necessarily to say that ‘Perfect Remains’ is a bad book. As I said it’s very nicely written and it had a good plot-line behind it. It could just have done with a little more pace and a more likeable lead.



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