“Eight killers. One house. And the almost perfect murder…
Starling House is home to some of Britain’s deadliest teenagers, still too young for prison.
When the latest arrival is found brutally murdered, DCI Matilda Darke and her team investigate, and discover a prison manager falling apart and a sabotaged security system. Neither the staff nor the inmates can be trusted.
The only person Matilda believes is innocent is facing prison for the rest of his life. With time running out, she must solve the unsolvable to save a young man from his fate, and find a murderer in a house full of killers…”
A very happy paperback publication day to A Room Full of Killers author, Michael Wood and the team at Killer Reads. And congratulations on what is a stunning example of how to write a police procedural. I’ve read the second book in the DCI Matilda Darke series, Outside Looking In and thoroughly enjoyed it. This third instalment though is something else altogether. I absolutely loved it!
The opening scenes are both horrific and heartbreaking. We’re fleetingly introduced to two children. We don’t know who they are, how old they are or their circumstances. All we know is that the older child is suffering from food poisoning and has woken their sibling up after being violently ill. What follows made my heart ache and my stomach turn. Such a brilliantly written, attention grabbing opening and way to make sure the reader is giving their absolute undivided attention.
I mentioned in my review of Outside Looking In how much I love DCI Matilda Darke and how wonderfully normal she is in comparison to some other female detectives. I’m still very much a fan but the shine was taken off a little for me whilst reading A Room Full of Killers. Matilda is sent to investigate the murder of a high profile teenage killer at a Young Offenders Institute. But during the investigation she becomes distracted to the point of endangering herself and her team. I think I invest far too much in my fictional leads as I felt like yelling at my Kindle and telling her to buck her ideas up! But weirdly, this added to the whole reading experience for me. (Yeah, I can’t explain it either!)
I spent a long time working out how the prologue fitted with the rest of the story. And then it became perfectly clear and suddenly, the gruesome murder of a teenage killer and the complex ongoing investigation faded into the background a little and I was just as distracted as DCI Darke. Such a clever novel and full marks to the author for writing such a tense, heart-rending book.
One of the many things I loved about a A Room Full of Killers is that it’s set in Starling House, a young offenders prison. Meaning the majority of the characters are evil, vindictive killers (the type I love to read about!). Each of the young men get to tell their story and the reason they have ended up imprisoned. I loved these chapters. They’re so well written and despite being relatively short summaries, they tell you everything you need to know about the killers. Building a clear picture of the evil, sadistic children stuck behind the walls of Starling House.
I loved the mystery element. I love whodunits and this is a fantastic example of how to plot and build on the suspense. Would I recommend this book? Most definitely. I loved this book so I really hope that you get a chance to read it too. It’s tense, gripping and a completely absorbing read. I loved the cast of killers and, even though she lost a little of the shine, I still love DCI Matilda Darke. An excellent book which fans of the police procedural shouldn’t ignore. I hope we don’t have too long to wait until the fourth book in the series is published!
Five out of five stars.
I chose to read and review an eARC of A Room Full of Killers. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
Michael Wood is a proofreader and former journalist in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. His first novel featuring DCI Matilda Darke, FOR REASONS UNKNOWN, was released in the autumn of 2015. The follow-up, OUTSIDE LOOKING IN, was released in May 2016 in ebook format by Killer Reads at HarperCollins.