Writing Echoes

Delijah's Writing Blog

Book Review: The Ladykiller by Martina Cole

Title: The Ladykiller
Author: Martina Cole
ISBM: 978-84-206-5304-4 (0 7472 4085 X)
Summary: George Markham has a nasty little hobby, one that erupts into an orgy of viscous sexual depravity. Patrick Kelly is a hard man. His one soft spot is his daughter, and when she falls victim to the Grantley Ripper, Kelly wants revenge. The DI in charge of the case is Kate Burrows. She feels for Kelly but her growing involvement with a known villain is putting her career at risk… As the forces of law and order and London’s underworld converge in a huge manhunt, Kate fears she’ll lose everything she’s ever cared about… to the ladykiller. [From Martina Cole’s Webpage]

I’ll try to set aside that this book’s translation into Spanish is one of the worst I’ve ever read – and I have had my shares of bad translations – but I can’t get books in English from my family’s bookshelves and I wanted a thriller or two to read these days (it was disgracing, btw). I was done with The ladykiller in two days, but just because I read fast.

I think this is what they now call a ‘sexual thriller’. The murderer is a lust-triggered sadist rapist and murderer who in page 5 is 100% submitted to his wife and in page 50 is raping a waitress and smashing her brain in. Stylish… not. I read on Amazon that the author ‘does not fall in cheap gore’. Yeah, not. Descriptions of bloating and decomposing flesh cover the pages of the book. Fine, it is not running blood, but I read already once that ‘her open skull let him see her brain, and it was glued to the floor by the dried blood’. I don’t need that description for every damn body found.

The main character is supposed to be a female detective with a strong personality. Okay, note taken. I shall try to remember, because if that was the goal… mission was not accomplished. The only well drawn character is, unfortunately, the killer – you know the type: sadist, likes porn, especially BDSM, is into snuff… a bunch of clichés one after the other. Then there is the reported main male character who… okay, let’s say your daughter was brutally attacked and raped on Christmas Eve and died on Christmas morning. Would you be fucking the main detective by New Year’s Eve? This guy does.

Mrs. Cole did not do a lot of her research, either. A full DNA profile completed and compared in two hours in 1990??? No. I mean… no. Never mind a few glaring continuity errors, mostly relating to the detective’s daughter – it seems that the subplot around her was introduced later into the idea, and it never completely… managed to be fit in. The ex-husband is a completely expendable character and it seems that half of the area’s police exists just so detective Burrows can reinforce her opinion on all men being pigs.

Speaking of her… you’ve been divorced for over 10 years, change your bloody name, you idiot!! And strong, independent woman is not the same as cold woman who just melts when a guy touches her in the right places. ‘He pushed her little button’? Really? What’s this, a 14-year-olds’ fanfic forum? Urgh.

Bad thriller, bad ending, horrible last page wrap-up. I can’t speak how it works as a romance novel, but I wanted to shoot them both. Repeatedly. I hate the twist of pity about the psycho killer, as if the explanation should tell me that it was not his fault – and it’s not sympathy, you don’t feel pity for him. You are told that you should.

An example of what not to do, I’d say.


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