Slice by David Hodges

A review of the crime thriller Slice by David Hodges.

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Slice is a crime thriller from David Hodges, the author of another series of books in the same genre. Set in England, the story starts with the discovery of the body of a prominent high court judge—mutilated and put on display. Detective Superintendent Jack Fulton is assigned the case. As the bodies continue to be found (all mutilated in some way, and all killed with a cut-throat razor) Fulton begins to suspect one of the other police officers. While the killer manages to elude capture, Jack’s personal life starts to interfere with the case.

The character of Jack Fulton is one of the most obnoxious I have read to date. He is rude, arrogant, self-opinionated, and impossible to like. I don’t know if the author wanted that, or if it was accidental. Fulton never just speaks—he grunts, growls, retorts, scowls, mutters, grates, to name but a few. Not only is he totally unlikeable, but also totally unbelievable. As per so many books in this genre, Fulton eventually goes rogue when the murderer makes it personal, taking the law into his own hands while all the time whinging about what he’s doing. He starts to investigate the crimes on his own, leading to suspension and ultimately becoming a fugitive from the law. I wanted him caught so that Detective Chief Inspector Phil Gilham, who is his strait-laced second-in-command, could take over.

The author’s description of Fulton is that he’s a big man, which quickly becomes a term that’s overused all the way through the book. As well as this, Fulton chain-smokes and drinks whisky, which feels lazily stereotypical.

DCI Gilham, on the other hand, is written better. As a character he is believable and likeable. He doesn’t blindly follow Fulton and is not just a sidekick. However, I would have liked his character fleshed out a bit more. As readers, we find out very little about him outside of the disparaging remarks made by Jack Fulton.

Generally, however, I thought that the book was below par. The author favours very long and poorly constructed sentences, which are difficult to follow. The red herrings in the book are introduced on one page, and almost discounted straight away. There is also a lack of mystery throughout the novel, as the clues left by the author are not subtle, which gives the reader little chance to play detective.

On the whole, I would struggle to recommend Slice.

Cassidy grew up in Thanet and lives here with her family.

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