#BookReview
Hell’s Gate – Malcolm Hollingdrake

 

Ruthless criminals, horrible murders and a cold-blooded killer who thrives on violence – DCI Cyril Bennett has his work cut out for him in Hell’s Gate!

Introduction

DCI Cyril Bennett Harrogate Crime Series #2

Wow, what a terrific read! The second book in the ‘DCI Cyril Bennett Harrogate Crime Series’ is thrilling and captivating and I love it. I had to read it in one session as it was simply too hard to put down. It is great reconnecting to the impeccably dressed DCI Cyril Bennett and his DS David Owen, in everything his boss’s counterpart. The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.” This quote by Charles de Gaulle features prominently in Malcolm Hollingdrake’s thriller and if only you knew the chilling events you’re about to read in this crime novel, you’d think again! There are ruthless criminals, who consider lives solely as ‘products’ from which to profit, as disposable as your daily newspaper.  A child is abducted, gruesome murders take place and there is a psychopath who loves to kill.

Storyline

In Romania, a boy is abducted and groomed by his new ‘father’ to be “moulded and formed into a strong, brutal young man.” They call him Angel, quite the opposite of what he is: a cruel man who loves to instil fear into others, who subjects people to agonising punishments. Now he has come to Harrogate to open a restaurant, apparently a pretext for the darker side of his father’s business. We do know that their business involves modern slaves and dog fights. He has invented the cruellest punishment of all: The Chase. All you need to know is that it involves dogs and a slow and painful death. A petrified naked youth is about to be subjected to the ‘Chase’ and not only is he in mortal danger but also the man that happens to lie in the disused railway tunnel, used for the ‘Chase’. He is Drew Sadler, homeless because of his gambling debts that caused his family (wife, two children) to be evicted out of their house.

Meanwhile, DCI Cyril Bennett is at an auction, buying a beautiful painting with dark menacing colours in the sky mixed with a glow from a factory window. For Bennett, it feels as a reference to Hades, the dark underworld of the dead. Quite symbolic, when you think of Hades and Hell’s Gate where those branded as traitors suffer their last hours. When Bennett is called away to investigate the case of a little girl, attacked at home by two dogs he is appalled at the fact that there is barely food in the house, except for dog food. The girl’s mother is a drug addict and the mother’s boyfriend Rares seems indifferent to what happened and denies any involvement with the dogs. But we know the dogs are Rares’ responsibility. Following Angel’s orders, Rares has to shape the dogs into fighters, ready to kill animals and humans. Angel determines what happens, whether it concerns dog fights, rape, beatings or subjecting someone to the ‘Chase’.

No wonder Rares and all of Angel’s employees fear Angel and dread to think of what he is capable of. When the Police find Drew Sadler’s horribly mutilated body(parts) near the disused train tunnel Bennett is in shock and is determined to find the culprit. What are the connections between Sadler’s death, Rares’ dogs, the drugs addict mother and her little girl in the hospital? Are Sadler’s wife and children involved and if so, how? As confusing as this case is we feel the deeply menacing and life-threatening undercurrent of dark criminals pursuing their business with a total disregard for human lives and sufferings. The restaurant of Angel and his father, close to where Bennett lives, is it a façade? The people employed there barely speak English and live as modern-day slaves, forced to oblige their every masters’ command. Bennett and DS David Owen are in over their head in what will be one of their most complicated cases.

My Thoughts

Hell’s Gate’ does it refer to the place where a man is hunted by dogs? Or is it in all of us ‘the place where evil lies’? Can you shape a human into becoming a killing machine, a cold-blooded murderer with no respect at all for human dignity, for lives? What we do know is that ‘Hell’s Gate’ is Malcolm Hollingdrake‘s second thrilling detective in the ‘DCI Cyril Bennett Harrogate Crime Series’ and it had me drawn in from the start. I love everything about it, the pace, the personal insights into the life of Cyril Bennett, the descriptions of the scenes, sometimes gruesome, then again refreshingly normal. The entwining of for instance a cosy dinner and then again horrible events is done so well. It can perfectly be read as a stand-alone but, as I always like to ‘meet’ the main characters from the start, I would recommend reading ‘Only the Dead’ first.I find this detective an enthralling crime novel and a pleasure to read.

The ‘DCI Cyril Bennett Harrogate Crime Series’ currently consists of four books:
#1 Only the Dead (my review) – #3 Flesh Evidence (my review) – #4 Game Point (review to follow on April 11th)

Each book can be read as a stand-alone – but I recommend starting with the first to get to know DCI Cyril Bennett and his beloved Harrogate.

About the Author

Malcolm Hollingdrake Author Image

If you’re born in a library … no wonder you have it in you to be an author one day! That is what happened to Malcolm Hollingdrake and although he took a circuitous route via a teaching career, once challenged to do so, he started writing vigorously. Malcolm has written a number of successful short stories and is currently working on the fourth book in the DCI Cyril Bennett Harrogate Crime Series. Did you know that Malcolm enjoys collecting works from Northern artists and attending art auctions? Yes, just like his protagonist Cyril Bennett! Malcolm Hollingdrake cherishes his home county, which is why his series of crime novels is set in Harrogate.

Book Info

 Paperback   217 pages
 Publisher   Bloodhound Books (5 Dec. 2016)
 Language   English
 ISBN-10  0995621284
 ISBN-13  978-0995621282

 

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