Friday, January 25, 2019

Review: The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox

Title: The Smiling Man
Author: Joseph Knox
Series: Aidan Waits, #2
Published: January 2019, Crown
Format: ARC Paperback, 384 pages
Source: Publisher

From the bestselling author of Sirens, Detective Aidan Waits is on the hunt to find the identity of The Smiling Man.
Disconnected from his history and careless of his future, Detective Aidan Waits has resigned himself to the night shift. An endless cycle of meaningless emergency calls and lonely dead ends. Until he and his partner, Detective Inspector Peter ‘Sutty’ Sutcliffe, are summoned to The Palace, a vast disused hotel in the centre of a restless, simmering city.

There they find the body of a man. He is dead.

And he is smiling.

The tags have been removed from the man’s clothes. His teeth filed down and replaced. Even his fingertips are not his own. Only a patch sewn into the inside of his trousers gives any indication as to who he was, and to the desperate last act of his life…

But even as Waits puts together the pieces of this stranger’s life, someone is sifting through the shards of his own.

When the mysterious fires, anonymous phone calls and outright threats escalate, he realises that a ghost from his own past haunts his every move.

And to discover the smiling man’s identity, he must finally confront his own.

My thoughts: This is the second book in Joseph Knox's Aiden Waits series, but the first book I've read...and I really enjoyed it. I picked it up last year at Book Expo and remember the publisher telling me I would have no issues reading it out of order and that it was an intense read, but well worth it...well, they were right!

While I felt there were times I wished I had read the prior book, Sirens, before reading this one, I did feel the author gave us enough backstory to give us the picture of what happened before. And the hints have certainly peaked my curiosity enough that now I definitely will be going back and reading that earlier book, so I guess that's a job well done - the author gave just enough information but not too much that I already feel I know exactly what happened.

This book is dark and gritty and the story quickly pulls you in. It's so complicated, with layers upon layers and each time you think you have something figured out, there's a new twist that changes everything. This is a book that you really need to pay attention to - there are too many pieces at work here to gloss over - and you really don't want to miss anything, trust me!

I loved that Detective Aidan Waits is a flawed, damaged character - to me, this makes him all the more intriguing. He doesn't have an easy life and now he is stuck on the night shift and I really don't know what to make of his partner. They have a very strange working relationship to say the least, but it works...for now. 

As I said earlier, I am definitely going to go back and read book 1, Sirens, and then will be hoping there will be more to this series. Yes, it's dark and gritty, but it's addictive and thrilling and it's the kind of read you just want more of.

Books in this series:
  1. Sirens
  2. The Smiling Man


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