My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Kerry’ Wilkinson’s Locked In (Thomas & Mercer 2013) is a fun read, with an enticing detective character and a good enough though fairly common plot. Brit Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel tries to track down a killer–which quickly becomes a serial murderer–who leaves no visible evidence of how s/he got into and out of the murder scene. It takes a lot of twists and false starts before Jessica can uncover the truth, which turns out to be too close to home for her health.
The best part of this story is Jessica Daniel. She’s likeable, human, real, what you want a detective to be, with a dash of humor and passion thrown in. She is new to her position and wants desperately to prove she’s up to the job, but runs into endless problems in her effort to do that. Wilkinson has a nice storytelling voice that’s friendly and intimate enough to make readers want to follow along on Jessica’s journey, despite her lack of creativity in detective work. She seems to stumble into results rather than intuit them. You’d never attribute brilliance to her bag of murder-solving tricks, but she has rigor, energy, and commitment to her job, enough that she is able to catch a big clue when it’s lobbed her way.
Be prepared for lots of subplots. Besides the mass murderer, there’s:
- a mole in the police station who’s telling police secrets to a reporter
- the reporter’s love life–even a few scenes in his Point of view
- Jessica’s roommate’s love life which skyrockets
- Jessica’s love life–non-existent with one aborted effort to change that
- Jessica’s mentor’s police problems
None of these are resolved–just the main plot–so we’re nicely set up for a sequel to what is clearly the start of a series (or if Wilkinson hadn’t planned it that way, he missed a good bet).
Overall, the story drags a bit, with the police a bit dunderheaded (I don’t for the life of me know why they didn’t come up with at least a few ways a murderer could get in and out of a locked room. Their biggest effort was to track down who had keys). Several scenes I found myself wondering why they were even included (unless, of course, its a set-up for a later book in the series). More than once, there was too much retelling of events rather than putting readers in the action.
But, in the end, Jessica is a good enough character to keep my interest. I’d recommend it as an airplane read.
More murder-mystery reviews:
Capitol Murder by Phillip Margolin
Darkness My Old Friend by Lisa Unger
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, and a monthly contributor to Today’s Author. In her free time, she is editor of a K-8 technology curriculum and technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.