Elena Forbes is a relatively new writer (in comparison to my old favourites like PD James, Elizabeth George, Minette Walters and co) in the Crime/Mystery genre. She made her debut in 2007 with Die with Me. On the surface, it’s an ordinary crime novel with the obligatory DI and team working on a case. What makes her team a bit different is that she’s modernized it by creating a good looking young detective who pays attention to his dress, doesn’t drink excessively and is able to work with a team. He also hasn’t got the emotional baggage most of the detectives seem to have, which is not to say he doesn’t have his problems. One of his biggest seems to be that who he is and how he appears to others is not necessarily one and the same. He doesn’t always seem to realize that people don’t see through the exterior, which is quite refreshing. The subject of this first novel is also quite modern as it deals with the plight of depressed people and the role of modern technology in their demise.
When a young girl is thrown off the roof of a church, DI Tartaglia finds that he has more than just a simple suicide on his hands. The presence of GHB makes it fairly clear that they’re dealing with foul play. What’s odd about it is that there is absolutely no sign of sexual activity. As the team continues to investigate, they find other cases that may, or may not be linked to their most recent one. Tartaglia is convinced they are linked but even he knows he doesn’t have enough evidence to convince his superiors his hunch is right. Few witnesses come forward and even fewer have anything helpful to report so the team is forced to dig while they wait for more bodies, and more evidence, to pile up.
The characters are well drawn up and believable and the plot full of nice twisty bits that catch you off guard, or at least keep you guessing. All in all, it’s quite a good book, especially for a series starter. I’m looking forward to reading more of Forbes’ work and hope that she’ll continue with her character development. She’s made a strong start with this one anyway. 4.25 out of 5.