I met Steven Dunne at York Library, where he was talking to Peter Robinson and David Mark at the small but perfectly formed ‘crime on tour’ event last Summer, it was here that I picked up his latest novel called Deity.
Deity could almost be read as two completely separate stories. The book starts with the discovery of a nearly naked dead body. The body has had their internal organs removed, he is soon found to be a local homeless man. More bodies follow, all of whom are linked to the local homeless population. Each body has had their internal organs removed, and it soon seems that someone is practicing their killer skills.
In addition a group of students have gone missing, initially no one is too concerned and its assumed they have just run away. But as time gets on it becomes obvious that things are not quite as simple as they first seemed, the teenagers laptops and mobile phones have been left behind – unthinkable to todays kids. Then the Deity website comes to light. Soon DI Brook has two big cases on his hands as well as the detective tradition of a tricky family background.
This is the first of Steven Dunne’s books I had read (the third he has written) and I was pleasantly surprised, I thought the book was excellent.
I did skip over some of the descriptions of the homeless victims, but not because of bad writing but purely because I couldn’t wait to find out what was happening to the teenagers which personally I thought was the best story. This book had some fascinating insights into today’s culture and youth. One discussion between Brook and his newly returned daughter was around the phenomenon of vampires and how kids see them as the idea of perfect love as they will never change.
The story was an interesting take on the idea of fame, and the ‘Live fast, die young’ motto. With the advent of the internet everyone can be famous, but people need to come up with more and more extreme ways of standing out. It showed how desperate teenagers can be to gain fame and fortune, and also how the idea of failure for them can be totally destructive.
I really enjoyed this book, and read it in two sittings. Although I was slightly disappointed with the fact that the killer when he came out was obvious to spot (In the same way that when watching ITV dramas the killer is usually the most well known actor making their first appearance in that particular episode) however the rest of the book was excellent. I’ll definitely be reading this authors first two books.