Filler content with arachnids

This review first saw the light of day back in Black Static #6, pretty much as it now appears here, except possibly for some edits.



Orion hardback, 368pp, £12.99

FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy is approached by a young woman who believes a man she knows, called Dinchara (an anagram of ‘arachnid’), is dangerous, but there is nothing Quincy can do without corroborating evidence even though she sympathises with Delilah Rose, who is pregnant just like her. Special Agent Sal Martignetti is receiving anonymous tips about missing girls and feels the two ‘cases’ may be connected, with a serial killer on the loose. As the evidence mounts, albeit all circumstantial, they gain a picture of a deadly killer, a man unhealthily obsessed with arachnids and who chooses his next victim from the loved ones of the last person he killed. Kimberley starts to receive late night phone calls from somebody needing her help, and in one of them a murder appears to be happening in the background. As she digs deeper Kimberly realises that she may very well be the next victim

This is a complicated book, one with a plot that seems to be shooting off in several directions, but Gardner neatly ties up all the loose strands before the end (perhaps a bit too neatly, as one big plot twist was completely transparent to me). Along the way she feeds the reader enough titbits to maintain interest and keep us gripped right through to the last page. Verisimilitude is added by virtue of a wealth of convincing detail about FBI and police procedure, and Gardner deftly incorporates personal details, such as Kimberly’s arguments with her husband who wants her to be a stay at home mother, that will strike a chord with many readers who are not employed by the FBI.

The main appeal for horror fans will be Dinchara, a memorable and utterly chilling monster, Gardner detailing his habits and way of life with a grim but compelling rigour. She also provides a convincing back story for this monster, showing how his character was forged in the crucible of abuse, and by doing this Gardner further muddies the cloudy waters of the plot, conflating the roles of victim and victimiser so that, despite everything, there is an element of sadness, tragedy even, about the figure of this killer, reminding us that the greatest monster may once have been a frightened child willing to do anything to survive.

Each chapter is introduced with a factual snippet about spiders, which is a nice touch but possibly more disturbing than what’s going on with the main story: few of us are ever likely to meet a serial killer, but those pesky spiders are everywhere.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s