Niamh O'Connor's new release Too Close for Comfort is the third in a series of books featuring DI Jo Birmingham. I have read the previous two books and enjoyed them and was looking forward to this one. Jo Birmingham is a brilliant character and she does stand out in my mind amongst other female leads in books. I think the reason for this is that she is so normal. She makes some serious mistakes, constantly has to juggle her work and personal life (not always succeeding) and is an ordinary woman doing an extraordinary job. Straight away Niamh O'Connor brings the reader into Jo's world without the need to read the first two books.
Her writing style is easy to follow and it doesn't take long to get into the story. A woman has been found in an area in the Dublin Mountains. In the past women have disappeared and the area is now known as part of the `vanishing triangle' case. Derek Carpenter lives in Nun's cross, the same area as the latest victim and was the prime suspect in the Vanishing Triangle case. In the very beginning the story gripped me and we saw flashes of somebody who is involved in the press. This will eventually link to the killer later down the line. I think one of the main problems I had with this book was the references to hacking. The crime was interesting but there were numerous links to press hacking; similar to the scandal the General Public have seen with Newspapers in recent months. Niamh O'Connor couldn't have timed it better with the release of this book but I am just tired of hearing about the Leveson enquiry on the news lately, so maybe a similar thread in the book was too much for me?!? Maybe that was why this particular part of the book annoyed me so much.
Apart from that one minor irritant, it seems that Niamh O'Connor is doing a slow burn with this character and her novels as each of her books is just that little bit better than the last. This story had me questioning everybody at every opportunity. There were plenty of plot twists and at one point there was so much going on I went back to make sure I hadn't missed anything! The characters were strong and believable and one element I like is the constant battle for Jo to make her marriage work with Dan (who also used to be her boss). One other thing that stuck out for me is the lead to the endings of her books. In a strange sort of way they are always brilliant because they have the desired effect of the reader just having to get the next book. I cannot stand loose ends and with numerous characters making reappearances there are more questions than answer with some of them.
At the moment Niamh O'Connor is maybe not as widely known as she should be. I think her books are hugely under-rated, and although I am yet to be blown away with one of her books, I have a sneaking suspicion one of her future books is going to be the one! Maybe not to everybody's taste but a complex book that will keep you reading. I am now waiting with baited breath for the next instalment as this one was left on a bit of a cliff hanger!