When a woman’s body is found naked and badly beaten in a Singapore hotel, Inspector Sam Tay is reluctant to view the gruesome scene. He’s also reluctant to go along with the FBI when they claim the murder is a terrorist killing. But then another body turns up and the similarities point to a serial killer.
Jake Needham’s hero is fascinating – an unwilling detective who doesn’t say much, isn’t keen on checking out murder scenes and often doesn’t know how to respond to women. Nevertheless, he’s an absolute gem of a character whose dogged determination leads him into an intricate mystery that throws up barriers at every turn. This isn’t the usual troubled-cop, hard-drinking, squealing tyres sort of a book, but it’s got what a lot of modern crime writing doesn’t have – great characters, clever dialogue and a real page-turner of a plot that kept me guessing right to the end.
Whenever I discover a novelist I really like, that old chestnut ‘so-many-books, so-little-time’, comes to mind, but it’s a genuine thrill to find Mr Needham has given me plenty to catch up on – not only are there four books in the current Inspector Tay series, there’s also the Jack Shepherd series, which looks equally appealing. ‘The Ambassador’s Wife’ is the first of the Inspector Tay novels and the first time I’ve read this author, but it won’t be the last.