Monday, 1 December 2014

Review: The Killing - Uncommon Denominator by Karen Dionne

Publisher: Titan Books
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: July 11th, 2014
Rating: 8/10

Amazon summary:

When firefighters respond to a suspected meth explosion at a trailer park, they discover a man’s body, unburned but with terrible head wounds. Meanwhile, another man is discovered in a shipping container at the Port of Seattle, shot execution-style. For Homicide Detective Sarah Linden, two cases soon become one, and she must unravel a complex web of addiction, greed, and betrayal. 


I've always, always been a big fan of TV and film tie-in novels, so I was really excited when I found out there was a novel based on the US adaptation of The Killing. I love the show and it's dark, atmospheric settings, and I'm pleased to say that Uncommon Denominator captures that essence perfectly. Reading it is just like watching an episode of the show, which I think is the measure of a good tie-in novel.

Uncommon Denominator is a prequel story, set before the first season of the show, and of course features Linden and Holder. They're not partners, they don't know each other, but their paths are destined to cross. It's interesting to see how they came to work together, and what transpired before - Holder's work as an undercover cop and Linden's relationship with her young son, in particular. These are aspects of the show that have been touched upon but not explored in detail, so it's great to be able to get more of an insight into their lives prior to Season 1 and Rosie Larsen's murder.

This novel is a murder mystery based around two killings of very different men. Linden realises the cases may be connected, and what was initially thought to be two separate homicides turns into a deep web of lies, addiction and mystery. I didn't expect the story to end up as it did, though I did my best to guess my way through it - I was surprised at the closing of the case, which is the usual fare for me. Karen Dionne does a good job of creating tension, spinning a web of lies and deceit, and I really liked her ability to accurately portray the characters and their quirks.

Uncommon Denominator is the first book based on The Killing, and I hope it won't be the last. Anyone who loves this show and is still mourning its Netflix end will enjoy this novel, and will relish spending time with Linden and Holder before they knew each other. Their paths have never been easy, but when they cross it's the best thing that could happen to either of them - Linden finds a friend and Holder finally gets the trust and recognition he deserves. A brilliant read.

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