The Fourth Victim by John Mead – Birthday Blog Blitz

Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising this tour and to John Mead and The Book Guild for a copy to read in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

The Fourth VictimCover.jpg


Whitechapel is being gentrified. The many green spaces of the area, which typify London as a capital city, give the illusion of tranquility and clean air but are also places to find drug dealers, sexual encounters and murder…

Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula doesn’t dislike Inspector Matthew Merry but he has hardly set the world of the Murder Investigation Team East alight.  And, it looks as if the inspector is already putting the death of the young female jogger, found in the park with fatal head injuries, down to a mugging gone wrong.  The victim deserves more.  However, the inspector isn’t ruling anything out – the evidence will, eventually, lead him to an answer.

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My Thoughts

Set in Whitechapel, a place with a history of murder stories, The Fourth Victim is a riveting police procedural with a heavy focus on the case and the police perspective.

A young woman’s body is found in the park minutes after her murder and it initially appears as a senseless mugging gone wrong.  The more officers Merry and Lukula look into it, the more they begin to realise there’s more to it.  Working against budgets and time, can they figure out the motive and suspect before another victim appears?

The first few chapters we a little confusing as there a lots of characters (sometimes referred to by their first names and sometimes surname) and it took me a while to get my head around everyone and their roles.  It didn’t take long and once I got into the flow of the book, it became pacier and easier to sink into.

I’m fascinated by the world of policing and although I never mind when it’s glamourised and twisted for the sake of entertainment, it’s refreshing when a story comes along that exposes the harsh reality of the job.  John Mead does just that!  He includes the everyday frustrations that really impact how fluid and efficient an investigation should be and really brings them to life.

Although there is a little insight into the leading characters and their lives, Mead keeps the narrative primarily focused on the crime and the police aspect and the solving of the crime.  It keeps you guessing and changing your mind up until the big reveal through a range of suspects and clues with clever timing.

This is a good and realistic police procedural.

Author Bio – John Mead

John was born in the mid-fifties in East London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs.

He has travelled extensively, from America to Tibet, and he enjoys visiting the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that he is an avid ‘people watcher’ and loves to find out about people, their lives, culture and history. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub; he writes.

Many of the occurrences recounted and the characters found in his novels are based on real incidents and people he has come across. Although he has allowed himself a wide degree of poetic licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the killings that are depicted.

John is currently working on a series of novels set in modern day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city.

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