The Corpse Flower - Anne Mette Hancock

Heloise Kaldan is already under fire for using an untrustworthy source for her latest story, but when she receives a letter from a killer on the run her life gets even more hectic. Anna Kiel hasn't been seen since she fled a murder scene covered in blood, what does she want with Heloise? How does she know so much about her life when they've never met?

Thank you Swift Press for sending me a review copy of this book and trusting me to open this blog tour on publication day! Over the next two weeks some excellent bloggers are sharing their thoughts on the book, see below who is taking part!

I'm not sure what I expected with this novel when I knew going in that Anna would be introduced as a murder suspect and was then surprised by her shifty approach to contacting Heloise. Anna herself was more interesting to me as a character than Heloise, because there was a sense of mystery surrounding her that felt more established than the one surrounding Heloise. Heloise was an interesting character but her "mysterious" personality wasn't explained or warranted until late into the story, so in the beginning it felt forced for the effect of tension.

Despite the sometimes forced narrative, I genuinely couldn't put this down! It was easy to read and the pace was ideal to keep me engaged throughout, the chapters were short and had the perfect balance of action, suspicion and investigation by Heloise and her colleagues, as well as Shafer when he supports her ideas. As crime procedural novels go, this one didn't come across as the typical version of the genre. There was equal balance to Heloise's personal journey to Anna and actual police work so it didn't feel too investigation heavy which was a relief as authors can often get bogged down in explanation without intertwining it into the plot itself.

One of the best parts of this novel was the conclusion, I've recently read a few novels where the conclusion was rushed and only told over three pages instead of keeping pace with the rest of the novel. However, Hancock did an excellent job of maintaining the structure and development of the novel in the last few chapters, allowing natural realisation and closure to the plot.

Procedural novels can get extremely heavy, even in smaller 300~ page books, due to the topics and writing style. Overly explained investigations make the reader feel as though they're being told the plot instead of experiencing it and I'm happy to know that Hancock can be an author on my bookshelf who avoids this in her writing. Her series of Kaldan and Shafer is one I can definitely see myself reading going forward.

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