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Wednesday 13 July 2022

‘Office For the Dead’ by Sally Spedding

Published 29 April 2020.
ISBN: 979-8640664096 (TPB)

Young policeman, Detective Constable Martin Webb receives a phone call from his boss, Detective Ian Mason to say a local man Karl Walters, staying down in Portsmouth, has been shot dead. He was a crane driver, and it is soon found that his cargo, bound for a business park in France, contained a body minus the head and hands, enclosed in a tea chest. Curiously there is a Pater Nosta rosary bead in the victim’s rectum.

Action then transfers to the Aude department in France. A young Gabriel Victoire attends a recruitment drive attracting new entrants to the Fraternity of St. Jerome Seminary. He is really taken with it and joins as a trainee priest.

Suspicion soon falls on the Seminary and its Director, Monsignor Joseph Alarize. French speaking Martin is sent to investigate, much against his pregnant girlfriend’s wishes. It’s not long before he is sure there is definitely something not quite right at the Seminary. Many of the priests seem to have very strange eyes and why have several of the trainee priests disappeared? Who is the mysterious Omega and how come Alarize is so interested in her? He is a priest after all.

Martin becomes really caught up in the evil ways at the Seminary, what are they up to and why? Parents of one of the missing young lads, are determined to find out the whereabouts of their boy and they prove invaluable in helping Martin. Could their son even be the body in the tea chest?

Meanwhile, Gabriel also realises all is not as it seems and wants to leave. However, it’s not as easy as that.

Things take an even more macabre turn when Martin uncovers an extremely noxious smelling septic tank in the Seminary grounds.

Events take such a dramatic turn and Martin really doesn't know who to trust. Is it possible some members of the French gendarmerie can even be involved?

The shocks and revelations keep coming until the very last lines of the very last page.

Sally Spedding has delivered a really darkly intriguing spine chiller with so many twists and turns it made my head spin! Highly recommended for readers who love a deep dark chilling thriller – and who doesn’t? 

Reviewer: Tricia Chappell.

Sally Spedding was born by the sea near Porthcawl in Wales and trained in sculpture in Manchester and at St Martin's, London. Whilst her work was demand, Sally began to realise words can deliver so much more than any narrative sculpture or painting. Her first crime mystery, Wringland, was published in 2001 and has a strong historical thread and is set in the bleak fenland around Sutton Bridge. Her second book Cloven also invokes the past. Sally has written a further seven novels. Her strong familial connections with the Pyrenees, Germany and Holland have provided her with themes of loss and exclusion. The dark side of people, and landscape. The deceptive exterior, the snake in the grass are all themes which recur in her writing. In 2018 she started a series featuring DI John Lyon. There are three books in the series. More recently she has a series of four books set in France featuring Lieutenant Delphine Rougier of the French Labradelle Gendarmarie

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

1 comment:

  1. Sally Spedding14 July 2022 at 11:40

    Thanks so much, Lizzie Sirett and Tricia Chappell! This inclusion of 'Office for the Dead' and such a positive review are both really appreciated.