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Kgebetli Moele

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Review: Shutter Man by Richard Montanari

Shutter ManThe Great Crime Thriller will always have a setup crime, with every act relating directly to this crime, and the thrill of crime fiction is the mystery of how it – it, it might be the wit of the investigator, the shrewdness of the perpetrators and the chase – unravel until the perpetrators are caught or the crime is solved.

Richard Montanari sets up the crime scene – the gruesome murder of a family of three and three more subsequent ritual murders with the same MO. Then the author takes a detour; the bombing of a house, the suspicious death of Detective Byne’s childhood friends and the epic look into the Farren crime family, as well as the unsolved murders of eleven-year-old Catriona Daugherty and her “supposed” killer Des Farren. These detours in the end serve no purpose or function to the story as they remain unsolved.

There are very few moments of brilliance in this tale and the story falls face down at the end when answers that were supposed to be an integral part of the story become statements from the characters. What is really a Sotar square? And how does it relate and influence the murders of these witnesses and their face skinning, and their birth certificates? How was the brutality of murdering these witnesses going to elevate a family curse? Because if criminals leave clues, it is always with intent or an unfortunate mishap. Here Montanari sets up the playing field but fails to master it.

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