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Hugh T McCracken

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· To Read the Bones

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Books by Hugh T McCracken
The Knotted Cord (Alistair Kinnon)
by Hugh T McCracken   

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Books by Hugh T McCracken
· Ring of Stone
· Masters of the Hunt
· Heads up for Harry
· The Tangled Skein (Alistair Kinnon)
· Shaken & Stirred
       >> View all 11



Publisher:  Bewrite Books, UK ISBN-10:  1904224121 Type:  Fiction


Copyright:  March 2002

Barnes &
BeWrite Books UK

The body of a naked young boy hanging in a dusty barn stirs sickening feelings of déjà vu in the detective. As he unravels each knot in the tangled cord of his investigation, dedicated cop, Martin Nicols uncovers a murderous thread ... and police prejudices which may have allowed previous killings to happen ... not to mention his own guilt!
Alistair Kinnon has written much more than a tense, psychological crime novel - his twisting plot takes the reader into the murky world of child sex-for-sale … the parent’s darkest nightmare and the child’s greatest threat.

Professional Reviews
Reviewed by Lesley Mazey, Eternal Night
When the body of a naked young boy is found hanging in a barn, detective Martin Nicols experiences a strong sense of deja vu. Soon he remembers a similar case he investigated nearly a decade earlier. During the previous case the body of a naked boy was found tied to a bed with the house owner unconscious nearby. Clearly the homeowner was the immediate suspect but as he begins to investigate the murder, Martin Nicols finds himself drawn into the seamier side of life, the world of S&M, child prostitution and paedophilia.

It soon becomes clear that things are not quite as they seem. Who is the true victim and will Nicols manage to stop the killer before any more boys die?

This is a particularly nasty little murder-mystery. If the original victims had been adults then the story probably would not have quite the same impact. To write a story that involves child sex abuse and prostitution shows a great deal of courage. It opens the author up to criticism that he is using a distasteful subject to sell books. However with the author's writing the storyline is handled with such skill the reader is filled with a need to know the reasons why.

Far from glorifying his subject, the author makes the reader feel a great deal of sympathy for the young rent-boys.

I love a good crime story and with The Knotted Cord I was not disappointed. From start to finish the storyline progresses with an urgency that enhances the need to discover the identity of the murderer before anyone else is killed.

If you are of a delicate disposition then I would suggest that you do not read this story as it is violent, shocking and disturbing. If, like me, you enjoy a decent murder story then give this one a chance. Be prepared, however, to find yourself finishing the whole book in one or two sittings!

Reviewed by Lesley Mazey for Eternal Night

Reviewed by Nancy Jackson
Alistair Kinnon knows how to grab and hold the attention of the reader with finesse and confidence. What could be construed as a dark and disturbing read is done with both sensitivity and compassion, allowing even the most leery reader to be satisfied with this knuckle-biting detective crime story.

The story begins as Detective Constable Martin Nicols experiences a case of déjà vu between a current murder and similarities of a murder that took place ten years prior to it. A decade previously, a young boy was found dead, and the in a spate of present-day murders, startlingly similar discoveries are being made: with specifics ranging from the way the body was found to the detailed and intricate knots of the rope it was bound with.

Swept back ten years, we are driven to relive the first case with Detective Nicols: a case that has continually haunted him. Through the sticky web of games and suspicions, Nicols must narrow down the suspects involved in a child pornography ring before another murder occurs. He struggles to keep his own morals and values in check as he battles with the emotional toll this sensitive topic begins to take on him.

Kinnon takes us into the minds of the victim - a young boy lost to innocence early in life - as well as the minds of those involved in the premature demise of his lost youth.

Kinnon's characters are well defined, his dialogue smooth and believable. Whilst, at times, some parts may seem drawn out - a major flaw, for me - was the inclusion of the boy's diary, an element which created an unnecessary break in what was and is an otherwise seamless and delicious tale of suspense.

Reviewed by Nancy Jackson

Reviewed by Mike Broemmel
Alistair Kinnon taps the dripping, dark side of the human psyche in his graphically told tale, "The Knotted Cord". Mr. Kinnon's novel takes the reader into the bleak world of a viscous child-sex ring where lost boys are cruelly abused and murdered in chilling style.

The novel's chief protagonist, the dogged police detective Martin Nicols, pursues leads in the case of innocence lost across a decade in time and from city to city in Canada. With arrests during what turns out to be only the initial phase of a criminal investigation that would be resurrected, Martin Nicols cannot escape the nagging belief that he has not captured the true culprits in the child sex slave operation. Martin Nichols' grim instincts prove correct.

The reader is taken on an expedition with Martin Nicols into the tawdriest corners of human existence as he pursues lead after lead until finally loosening the knotted cord and solving the despicable series of nightmarish crimes perpetrated against the most vulnerable of society's members - children.

Mr. Kinnon's "The Knotted Cord" marks his first venture into the psychological genre. He undoubtedly drew upon his work with the Glasgow Criminal Investigation Laboratory in crafting "The Knotted Cord." The sections of the book dealing with the technical intricacies of criminal investigatory work obviously are crafted by a person in the know, by a fellow with experienced insights and an inside track.

"The Knotted Cord" is not a book for the faint of heart. Indeed, some of the descriptions of the sometimes mortal plight of the lost boys hooked into an illicit trade are sickening. But, despite the brutal nature of such scenes, the reader intuitively will recognize that the crimes comprising "The Knotted Cord" very easily could have been snatched from the daily headlines in Toronto, Tokyo, London or Los Angeles.

If "The Knotted Cord" fell short in any regard, this reviewer was left wanting to know a bit more about the person of Martin Nicols, the indomitable police investigator. Perhaps the same could be said of this reviewer's reaction to some of the other characters populating the book as well, including the vile villains. The question of "why" - why were these characters the way they are - seemed to echo at least partially unanswered in this reviewer's mind.

While the reviewer does suggest a bit more development could be had in regard to the machinations of some of the characters, this is not meant to be bad news for the author. Rather, the author left this reviewer caring enough or interested enough in the characters that this reviewer wanted to know why they ticked the way they tocked.

This reviewer understands Mr. Kinnon is plotting a sequel to "The Knotted Cord." The hope is that Martin Nicols makes an encore appearance so that he can be known a bit better.

On balance, "The Knotted Cord" is a wicked, tense and believable journey into an awful, grim corner of life in the 21st century.

Reviewed by Mike Broemmel, Author of The Miller Moth

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