The Cadaver Game by Kate Ellis

The Cadaver Game by Kate Ellis
Publisher: Piatkus Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

The decaying body of a woman is discovered in a suburban house in South Devon, following an anonymous tip off to the police. DI Wesley Peterson has problems establishing the woman’s identity and, as he begins to investigate her death, another disturbing case arises. Two teenagers are found shot dead at the foot of a cliff.

The teenage victims had taken part in an online game called Blood Hunt and it seems they may have been persuaded to play a sinister real-life game, which ended in their murder.

When a skeleton is found near the place where the teenagers were last seen alive, Wesley must face a terrible truth . . . and a hunt to the death.

A woman suspected of lying undiscovered for a week in her house is found and the level of decomposition has DI Wesley Peterson and his team struggling to positively identify the lady. Before they can make much progress with this case two teenagers, naked and both shot at close range with a shotgun, are found at the foot of a cliff. If this wasn’t unusual enough one of the teens has a close link to a member of the police team and when a skeleton is uncovered making it four bodies and no real connection between them Wesley really has his hands full.

I was pleased that this was another really strong addition to this series. While I do feel readers can pick this book up as a stand alone some of the secondary characters in the police team have quite a stronger than usual part to play in this book and so some prior knowledge of who is who and how everyone is linked together would be helpful I think. That said the plot itself stood very well by itself and I thought the author did a good job of knitting everything together and keeping the various plots and subplots ticking along well.

I enjoyed the fact that Welsey’s wife, Pam, didn’t factor as much as usual into this story. I’m still not a big fan of her and to be honest I felt the story moved much more smoothly and enjoyably without her impatience with Wesley and his job. After all these years of marriage I still struggle that she can be annoyed by Wesley needing to devote time – especially when there are four murder investigations all underway. I felt the book was far better for there not being a lot of Pam’s presence.

While there wasn’t a lot of Wesley’s friend, Dr Neil Watson he was integral to one of the sub plots and the skeleton and I did enjoy how he was doing something very unusual and strictly speaking not really archaeology (in a traditional sense) at all. I felt that was quite fresh and well handled.

An interesting albeit slow moving but thoroughly enjoyable British police procedural style of story with a healthy dose of history and archaeology. This was a good book and is a series I’m really growing fond of.

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