CANYON COUNTY, HALLOWEEN 1983Bobbi Lomax was the first to die, the bomb killed the prom queen on her own front lawn.Just moments later one of the nails from the city's second bomb forced its way into the brain of property investor Peter Gudsen, killing him almost instantly.The third bomb didn't quite kill Clark Houseman. Hovering on the brink, the rare books dealer turns out to be Detectives Sinclair and Alvarez's best hope of finding out what linked these unlikely victims, and who wanted them dead and why. But can they find the bomber before he kills again?Set deep in the religious heartlands of America, The Killing of Bobbi Lomax follows this troubled investigation as a narrative of deceit, corruption and forgery emerges, with an unlikely hero at its heart - a rare coins, books and manuscript dealer - who could either be a genius or the devil.
The Killing of Bobbi Lomax by Cal Moriarty was published by Faber on 7 May 2015. This is Cal Moriarty's debut novel, she is the first Faber Academy author to be signed by Faber.
I absolutely raced through this book. I have been tired, I have been busy at work, but I have been so caught up in the tension and thrills created in this novel, that I just could not leave it alone.
This is a proper crime story, it has a really retro feel to it and that's entirely down to the era in which it is set. It's my era; the early 1980s. The days when mobile phones and the internet were unheard of, and the police used notebooks, and pagers, and good old-fashioned detecting skills. That's not a criticism of modern-day crime novels at all by the way, it was just so interesting to realise just how quickly our world has moved on, in such a relatively short space of time.
People are being murdered in Abraham City, a small town in America, bang in the middle of the Bible Belt. Bobbi Lomax was first, and then Peter Gudsen. Clark Houseman was luckier, the bomb didn't kill him, he may hold the clues that Detective Sinclair and Detective Alvarez need so that they can work out just what is happening. This is not an easy case for the detectives as there are some pretty important people in town who are determined that their secrets will stay firmly covered up.
The beating heart of this story is religion. The Faith is a cult-like group that controls the town. Also featured is the world of book collecting and hypnosis. A strange combination you may think, but oh these themes are knitted together so well, so tightly, so perfectly.
I'd like to talk more about the plot, and the characters, but if I did then I'd spoil the novel for other readers, and I'm not a spoilsport! Be prepared for beautifully poetic writing that seems to be in absolute contrast to the genre, but yet again, is done so well that it adds more layers of greatness to this book.
Oh, and be prepared to fall for the guy who you really shouldn't!!
Exquisite, sophisticated and incredibly clever, this is a stunning debut novel.
My thanks to the publisher Faber, who sent my copy for review.
Cal Moriarty also writes for film and theatre, and has previously worked as a private eye.
She attended the 'Writing A Novel' and 'Edit Your Novel' courses with the Faber Academy.
Follow her on Twitter @calmoriarty