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Down into Darkness: A Detective Stella Mooney Novel (Detective Stella Mooney Mysteries) Hardcover – November 13, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. While Lawrence, a notable British poet, is still largely unknown to American fans of police procedurals, that should change with his successful fourth outing featuring London detective Stella Mooney (after 2006's Cold Kill). Mooney takes on a gruesome case when the corpse of a young woman is found hanging from a tree, defaced with cryptic writing. The motive for the crime is still elusive when a second body turns up, almost decapitated, with another scrawled message. Mooney and her team work frantically to link the two before the body count rises, even as the killer works to complete his mission. Mooney's complicated personal life is accessible to the new reader, and Lawrence masterfully draws out the tensions and freshens a cat-and-mouse plot line with sensitive writing and perceptive characterizations. (Nov.)
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Review

Unanimous Acclaim for David Lawrence
 
"Rough dialogue, intricate plotting, and cascading suspense...Readers are sure to want to see more of the memorable Stella."
- Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Dead Sit Round in a Ring
 
"Outstanding...highly recommended."
- Library Journal (starred review) on Cold Kill
 
"Unique...Lawrence's stylish, intelligent prose and complex characters mark him as a rising star."
- Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on Nothing Like the Night
 
"Lawrence, a published poet, writes with a delicacy and restraint rare in the genre.... That's a voice you want to hear again."
- Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review on The Dead Sit Round in a Ring
 
"Fluently written, imaginative, tightly paced, and drenched in Zeitgeist. In the combination of police procedural, sociology, and hard-boiled lyricism, Lawrence recalls Ed McBain."
- The Independent (UK) on Down into Darkness
 
"Striking...earns pride of place deep in the darkest circle of noir, down past Ian Rankin and John Harvey to the shadows where lurk Ken Bruen and Derek Raymond."
- Booklist (starred review) on The Dead Sit Round in a Ring
 
"Deserves more recognition from American readers who have taken up Ian Rankin and Ken Bruen. Think Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect. This book should be on every mystery lover's reading list."
- Rocky Mountain News (Grade A) on Cold Kill
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Spectrum by Alan Jacobson
FBI profiler Karen Vail's current case takes readers back to the beginning, with flashbacks to her rookie days as an NYPD patrol officer. "Spectrum" is a great way for new readers of the series to jump into the action. Learn more

Product Details

  • Series: Detective Stella Mooney Mysteries (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (November 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312347421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312347420
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,924,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In London, the naked body of a murdered female is left hanging from a tree with the words "DIRTY GIRL" engraved on her back. Police Detective Stella Mooney of the Area Major Investigation Pool is assigned to investigate this brutal killing.

However, she and her AMIP team make no progress as the motive remains unknown. Not long afterward, a naked male corpse of a researcher whose neck was sliced to near decapitation with another etched message "FILTHY COWARD" is found on a bench. Anxious that a serial killer is on the loose although the two homicides have not been linked, Mooney and her AMIP team desperately work to uncover the motives behind the crime before a third victim surfaces.

The forth Mooney English police procedural is a fabulous cat and mouse investigative thriller. The story line is action-packed from the moment the first message appears and never slows down as the cops struggle with solving a case that terrorizes the city (similar to what Son of Sam did to New Yorkers in 1977). Sub-genre fans will appreciate David Lawrence's latest masterful Mooney tale as this is a gripping winner; just like its predecessors (see COLD KILL, NOTHING LIKE THE NIGHT and THE DEAD SIT AROUND IN A RING).

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In "Down Into Darkness," David Lawrence brings back thirty-three year old Detective Sergeant Stella Mooney, who, along with her colleagues, Pete Harriman, Maxine Hewitt, Andy Greegan, and Sue Chapman, is looking for a man who hanged a teenaged victim from a tree sixteen feet above the ground, with the words "Dirty Girl" written in black marker across her shoulder. The members of the Area Major Investigations Pool team, led by DI Mike Sorley, set out to identify the victim and try to trace her movements in the hours leading up to her death. Since the perpetrator left little forensic evidence, the police spend countless hours sifting through clues, studying the profiler's analysis, and seeking potential witnesses. Even after the young woman is identified, the detectives' work is far from over. The murderer strikes again and again, leaving his telltale signature, a disparaging epithet written on the body. Although the reader knows who the predator is early on, we do not immediately understand his motives or how he chooses his prey.

Lawrence adds depth to his narrative by providing a window into the private lives of his characters. Stella is romantically involved with reporter John Delaney, whose previous assignments covering bloody war zones in Sarajevo, Rwanda, and the Persian Gulf left him traumatized. He is currently writing a feature on London's "Rich List," a boring task that makes him miss the adrenaline rush of battle. Stella is a sharp and tenacious detective who often resorts to a few drinks of vodka at night to deaden the pain of her job. She is nauseated by the terrible damage that human beings routinely inflict on one another.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Windhover on February 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is the fourth in David Lawrence's series featuring London police detective Stella Mooney. An accomplished poet, Lawrence is also a gripping writer of crime fiction. Like his previous novels, this is not for the faint of heart with graphic descriptions of the work of a serial killer and details of post-mortem examinations that verge on the unbearable. It seems, however, that the serial killer theme is becoming somewhat strained. This latest one is the least plausible. What saves the novel is Lawrence's writing ability and the fact that he is able to make his central character humanly interesting. Stella Mooney has a complicated personal life and a tendency to turn to straight vodka. The present book has new details about her origins in a London ghetto as the child of a negligent mother.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
All the David Lawrence books are well written, fast paced and employ a number of plots and subplots which intertwine and show by the end of the story, as John Donne famously wrote, "No man is an island entire of its self..."
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gloria Feit VINE VOICE on January 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is the fourth book by David Lawrence, all in the Stella Mooney series. Stella is a 33-year-old London detective sergeant, and a body found in the rough section known as Harefield Estate hits a little too close too home for her - this is where she spent her youth, an appalling neighborhood, known for its flagrant drug-dealing and prostitutes. Stella never knew her father, and hasn't seen her mother in ten years. In those early years, the author tells us, Stella spent her time "watching the weather, following the flight of birds and wishing she could do that, wishing she could find a thermal, like the city gulls, and tilt, sliding down the wind until she reached somewhere that was somewhere else. Stella keeping quiet, keeping to herself, reading her own school reports, because her mother never would, looking for a way out, taking charge of her own life."

As the book opens the naked body of a young woman, no more than 20 years old, is found hanging from a tree, the words "dirty girl" scrawled in marker across her back. When another body is found soon thereafter, a man whose neck has been nearly severed found tied to a bench near the river, the words "filthy coward" similarly written across his arms, it would appear that the police have a serial killer on their hands. But a connection between the victims is hard to discern: the girl was apparently a prostitute, the man a researcher for a prominent Member of Parliament. As to the motive for the killings, Stella finds herself thinking: "'Who are you to be judge and executioner?' She gave a little shudder and suddenly was filled with a just and intense loathing for this man, this lone vigilante, this angel of wrath, or whatever he considered himself to be.
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