Bye Bye Baby and Beautiful Death
by Fiona McIntosh
Release Date: Early Dec
My earliest encounters with Fiona McIntosh were through her three fantasy series in the early 2000’s, and because I was pretty much the science fiction and fantasy guy at the time I only stumbled across her crime books with the release of the second, Beautiful Death. I enjoyed it immensely and quickly read the first. Fiona moved to writing hugely popular historical romance and after a while her crime books dropped out of publication. Recently however, Penguin have reprinted the two Jack Hawksworth books and I’m very pleased to have them back on my shelves. They’re fairly traditional books in terms of premise, serial killers with strange M.O.’s and a young cop who’s something of a rising star of the force trying to make sense of it all. That changes pretty quickly and McIntosh plays out the effects of that kind of case with her characters and makes them human rather than crime cliché cut-outs. There’s also a very dark twist at the end of the first book that allows her to give Jack Hawksworth a credibly damaged demeanour in the second book. What really sells me on these is that I never feel the need to shout at the book while reading it. If I think something someone says sounds odd, sure enough one of the cops will mention it a page or two. If a detective sees something potentially dangerous, they call for back-up. In short, they’re not stupid and (at least to me) feel like clever professionals dealing with a difficult case. The only bad thing about the series is that there’s only two and that the second ends with what was probably intended as a hook for a third. In my opinion they’re still totally worth reading, though keep in mind that they were written more than ten years ago so allow that London and technology have changed.