Talking to the Dead is the first book featuring British detective Fiona Griffiths – one of the most engaging female protagonists in crime thrillers.
A young girl is found dead. A prostitute is murdered. And the strangest, youngest detective in the South Wales Major Crimes Unit is about to face the fiercest test of her short career.
A woman and her six-year-old daughter are killed with chilling brutality in a dingy flat. The only clue: the platinum bank card of a long-dead tycoon, found amidst the squalor.
DC Griffiths has already proved herself dedicated to the job, but there’s another side to her she is less keen to reveal. Something to do with a mysterious two-year gap in her CV, her strange inability to cry – and a disconcerting familiarity with corpses.
Fiona is desperate to put the past behind her but as more gruesome killings follow, the case leads her inexorably back into those dark places in her own mind where another dead girl is waiting to be found . . .
Talking to the Dead was a book that my best friend ranted and raved about from the moment I met her even to now. I definitely see why, if you have read my Crime Recommendation post you’ll know that crime is the one genre that I really struggle with, I always find the story to be predictable. I didn’t seem to have that issue with this one.
The one thing that I was really impressed with was how mental illness was handled in Talking to the Dead, it was an undercurrent throughout the entire story which was a great addition to the actual events happening. It was a really interesting part of the story and it made me keep reading and get to the end.
The murder in Talking to the Dead turned my stomach not only with how violent it was but also because it involved a small child. There was enough of a description to make me cringe but overall it was treated with sensitivity and respect. There was the shock factor without the added gore, and I really appreciated that, it meant that it wasn’t there for the sake of it. I definitely think it added to the story.
I think Fiona may be one of my favourite protagonists in any book let alone Talking to the Dead, she was the perfect mix of unlikeable but redeemable. She showed her vulnerability whilst also staying strong in her convictions and not being easily swayed. She is my definition of a strong female character. As a part of this her relationship status was introduced delicately but also really well into the plot. It never overshadowed her as a person and the story wasn’t sacrificed to make that into an important part of her life. I really appreciated reading a woman who wasn’t turned into someone new by the man in her life.
The only reason Talking to the Dead didn’t rate a five is that I got a little confused by the case at the end, and struggled to hold onto the details. But I’m not sure whether that says more about me as a reader than the book itself. I came out of the book loving all the characters but confused by how the case ended.
I would 100% recommend this book, I have already bought the second and I can’t wait to dive back in with Fi and see how another case works itself out.
Have you read this series? Did you enjoy it? Or do you have a crime series you turn to?