TITLE: IF I NEVER SEE YOU AGAIN
AUTHOR: NIAMH O'CONNOR
Details: No. 1 Jo Birmingham Mystery
Jo Birmingham is a police detective in Dublin. She's also a mother and separated from her husband who also happens to be her superior in work.
When Jo finds the body of a horrifically murdered prostitute it doesn't take her long to link it to other recent murders. What she discovers is not pretty. It appears they're looking for someone with a religious obsession, someone acting out an eye for or an eye, a tooth for a tooth.....
With the body count rising the investigation appears to be moving forward once Jo and her colleagues discover what the link between the victims is. But with things less straight forward than they appear Jo will find herself in real danger before this case can be concluded.
I am a big fan of good mysteries and as such was not disappointed in this book. It is a bonus that the story is set in Dublin, a place I know well.
Jo Birmingham makes a good main character. She is a tough and intuitive detective who knows her own mind and doesn't allow anybody to mess with her. She is also a devoted mother and still in turmoil over the separation from her husband. This makes her a real and well-rounded character, especially since she may be good at what she does but is far from perfect.
The mystery was very well plotted with enough red herrings to keep me guessing until the very end. I thought I had the solution very early on in the book, and when Jo came to the same conclusion a good bit later on, I felt a bit let down. But, we were both wrong, and that's all I say about that.
My one qualm about this book is that the murderer was virtually impossible to guess for the reader because the clues just weren't there. It made for a surprise ending though.
This book also strikes the right balance between the mystery and the personal story line. One never got in the way of the other and both were portrait realistically.
Another thing I really appreciated is the case O'Connor makes for Separate Legal Representation, a system which, if adopted, would allow victims of violent crime to have their own representation in court. Someone to give them a more personal voice, rather than just the voice of the prosecutor who, after all, speaks for the state, and not for the victims. O'Connor makes this case both in the story, and in a note at the end of the book and I fully agree with her.
All in all this was a great read, and a one day book for me. I'm very glad that my library has the second book, Taken, on order and that I will be able to get my hands on it soon.