"Lest You Be Judged" by David Hutchinson is an excellent read. It's the second of Hutchinson's novels we have reviewed, the first being "Deacon Brodie: A Double Life", which is also a great read. Whilst "Deacon Brodie: A Double Life" is a historical novel and based on real life events, "Lest You Be Judged" comes much further up to date, being set in Edinburgh in 2000, and is a wholly fictional work. It begins when a high court judge is brutally murdered and DCI Mike Steel is brought in to handle the case. Highly respected, but with a tendency to jump into a case and work it up to the extreme edges of acceptable protocol, Steel not only finds himself with a murder to solve, but with a new and inexperienced partner in tow. Sergeant Robin Moss is new to the area, a fast-track university graduate who is keen to make her mark. At first it looks like a poor match, but as the case unfolds a mutual respect begins to develop.
To muddy the waters of the first murder and almost before any progress has been made, the search for a perpetrator leads Moss to discover that there has been an escape from a secure mental hospital of an individual who has used the same MO observed in the current case. When the body count starts to rise, the realisation dawns that there is a serial killer on the loose and the pair set off in pursuit of the escapee. The story takes a series of twists and turns until Moss discovers a missing, horrifying piece to the puzzle. Realisation dawns that she has to act quickly if she is to both catch the murderer and stop another crime.
"Lest You Be Judged" is fast paced and retains the interest of the reader throughout, as there is always another twist. One thing worthy of note is the way David Hutchinson brings Edinburgh to life as he writes. For a reader who knows the city well, this brings an added level of realism which is particularly satisfying, as it is possible to walk the streets along with the characters and know exactly where they are at all times. And coming to the characterisation, the key players have strong identities and there is a sense that we get to know them as they are also getting to know one another. With the front cover suggesting that "Lest You Be Judged" is a "DCI Steel Murder Mystery", this raises the question, is there another story to follow this one? There is certainly mileage to be gained from the characters of Steel and Moss and this reader hopes that there will be a follow-up to this excellent novel!