I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.
Urge to Kill, if you couldn’t guess by the name, is a crime/thriller novel. Set in my own town of Warwick, the novel follows newlywed DI Matt Turrell as he tries to keep up with a killer getting ever-closer to home. The novel also follows the killer, Clive Draper, as he draws in victims and makes his way to his ultimate target.
I’ve previously not been one for thriller novels, so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. At first I did find many aspects didn’t sit too well with me, particularly in the killer’s character and motives. I find the misogynistic gay man trope to be problematic generally, and here it felt a little too heavy handed in the way he staged the victims after the deaths – it also led to quite clumsy sounding detective work later in investigations. I found a few of the theories put forward by forensics investigators etc a little farfetched given what they know compared to the reader, and on the flip side things were missed that should have been blindingly obvious – but these can be forgiven. A bit of belief-suspending is needed in any book of this kind, I think!
The second half of the book was when I really got invested in the story. Franklin is skilled at rising the tension and wrote compellingly as the killer closed in on his real target, DI Turrell’s new wife Eppie. It takes skill to keep tension up in a novel of this nature when the reader has been aware of the killer the whole time; but this is something the author does very well. I found myself unable to look away as Eppie quite literally runs for her life, bringing us crashing into the denouement at breakneck speed.
This is where I felt a little disappointed. We are on the verge of everything coming together, a brutal and uncaring killer is about to receive justice… when he goes through what seems to be a total mental break – suddenly acting both childlike and completely deranged. We as readers knew he wasn’t mentally well, but he had been highly intelligent and eloquent throughout the book. I found this removed some of the tension for me after the previous scenes. Saying that, however, it was handled quite well, and I could picture the scene even if it wasn’t as realistic or tense as I’d hoped for. I suppose the intention was to lend more empathy to the character, but I feel this could have been achieved much better in bulking out his backstory earlier on in the book.
In terms of setting, this is an area I know well; I grew up in Warwickshire and currently live in Warwick itself. There is of course a lot of artistic licence in the novel, but it is done very well. I feel like you would have a good feel for the area even if you had no idea what it was like. I did feel a bit unnerved at the idea that I could be a target if Clive really were prowling the streets of Warwick!
Overall, the book has parts that really do draw you in, even if other aspects may not be as realistic as I’d hoped for. This is a good book to cuddle up with if you want some thrills on a cold day.