This, according to the jacket blurb, is Richard Godwin’s first venture into the realm of the crime novel, and for all of me he can return to his previous pursuits. The way Apostle Rising ends, however, a sequel seems inevitable, though I won’t be along for the ride.
What’s the matter, you ask? Godwin has a reputation, I guess, in the noir world, and Apostle has a healthy dose of that. Chief Inspector Castle is a raging alcoholic with all kinds of other emotional handicaps. His sidekick, Stone, is having severe marital problems, many of which are her own fault. Although Godwin tries to lay their dysfunctions at the door of the gruesome work they do, it’s hard to buy there’s any excuse at all for their behavior and attitudes. And their troubles affect their work in pursuing a couple of serial killers with nasty religious attitudes. They’re often slow on the uptake, clumsy in their interviews. Most notably in the case of a wealthy businessman they know will be targeted, but for whom they wait till tomorrow to provide protection instead of doing so immediately, which would have saved his life and shortened the investigation.
The there are the manifestos. Long, rambling, religious tracts supposedly from the notebook of the killer (whose identity we don’t know.) After the first three or four, I just skipped the repetitive rest. Plus, the same sentiments in almost the same words get repeated while we’re in the killer’s mind while he does his work. Also, speaking of repetition, the police profiler conducts sessions in which he reiterates his theories as if we and the inspectors haven’t heard them before.
All in all a most unsatisfying piece of work involving people with virtually no sympathetic or likable traits.