I was given a copy of Porcelain: flesh of the innocents by Lee Cockburn from the publisher Clink Street Publishing and I am delighted to be part of their spring reading week.
Porcelain is described as vivid, dark and unsettling and it most certainly is. Set in Edinburgh, the story starts with two five year old’s being horrifically abused by their mother and her boyfriend. Fast forward twenty years and the police are dealing with a vigilante killer who is preying on people with links to paedophilia. At each murder scene a porcelain doll is found. DS Nicks is leading the investigation as she still struggles to come to terms with the outcome of her last big case.
This was actually the second novel by Lee Cockburn and I hadn’t read the first which is referred to quite a lot but this still seems to work as a stand alone novel.
Porcelain was a novel that very much divided my opinion. The storyline was definitely not for the fainthearted. It deals with some horrific issues, and it is pretty graphic. It’s testament to the quality of the writing though that you want to continue to the end.
However I really wasn’t keen on the main character of DS Nicks. I was disappointed by this as I usually love a good strong female lead, yet I struggled with Taylor Nicks. Her attitude to her colleagues seemed very much at odds with how a professional should act. She basically sleeps with every female she sets eyes on and this means practically every other chapter is a long description of her encounters. I have to admit to getting a bit bored of so many graphic sex scenes that I felt were just a distraction from the actual story so I did skip over them a bit. Of course this detachment may have been because I hadn’t read the first novel, so I may have felt more sympathy with the detective if I had had more knowledge of her background. I did like the character of family man Detectives Marcus Black though and he is a good contrast to his partner DS Nicks.
However despite my reservations the police procedural element of this book was excellent. Lee was previously in the police force and her knowledge is clear. Despite the dark elements of the plot the story moves along at a pace, and there are plenty of twists and turns. Every time I thought I knew how it was going to pan out there was a new twist ahead.
If you like your crime novels to be dark then this is definitely one for you although it’s probably a good idea to read her first novel Devil’s Demise before embarking on this one.
Thanks very much to Clink Street Publishing for letting me take part in the Spring Reading Week which is now at an end but has been a great way to find some new reads.