Review: A young woman, lured from Eastern Europe to Northern Ireland with the promise of steady employment, finds herself the target of three men — only one of whom wants to help her — in Stolen Souls, the second Detective Inspector Jack Lennon investigation by Stuart Neville.
Gayla Petrova has been enslaved as a prostitute in the employ of Arturas Strazdas. She manages to escape, but only after killing Strazdas's brother Tomas. Enraged by this act, Strazdas sends his trusted strongman Herkus to find her … and kill her. But Gayla has merely traded one captor for another, when she mistakenly puts her trust into Billy Crawford, who promises to help her return to her homeland but locks her into a room in his well-secured house. Lennon, meanwhile, is pursuing Tomas's killer, initially unaware that she is a victim herself.
Thinly developed and rather unimaginative stock characters mar this otherwise well crafted crime novel. Lennon is the now familiar flawed detective, trying to balance a hectic and dangerous professional life with that of being a single father. But at least he's also clever as a police investigator and a bit unpredictable in his actions, lending interest to his character. And with one notable exception, the supporting players are taken straight out of central casting. The Eastern European thugs are all interchangeable, and Billy Crawford as the religious fanatic saving wayward girls by killing them proffers no originality whatsoever. Other than Lennon, the only truly interesting character is Herkus, a conflicted soul himself, torn being loyalty to his employer and his yearning to do something for himself instead of always taking orders.
The best part of — and the reason to read — this crime novel is its storyline and the way it unfolds. It envelopes the reader with a level of simmering suspense that is just edgy enough to keep one wary of what will happen next.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided an ARC of Stolen Souls for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Soho Crime (Hardcover), October 2010
ISBN-13: 9781569478554; ISBN-10: 1569478554
Soho Crime (Hardcover), January 2013
ISBN-13: 9781616952044; ISBN-10: 1616952040
Location(s) referenced in Stolen Souls: Ireland
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Stolen Souls by Stuart Neville — A Jack Lennon Mystery
Publisher: Soho Crime
Publication Date: October 2011
List Price: $25.00