(Blurb for Attack and Decay from Goodreads) The Vinyl Detective plunges into the world of death metal in his sixth adventure. Expect laughs, LPs, cats and the return of fan favourites, Nevada, Tinkler, Stinky Stanmer and more.
The Vinyl Detective goes Scandi noir in his sixth adventure. Disfigured corpse. Check. Grotesque snowman. Check. Headless animals. Check. But in fact the killer is taking their cue not from Scandi noir fiction but another popular Scandinavian export – death metal.
Well, the cover says tells me everything, it’s a Vinyl Detective novel and I’m a huge fan.
I’ve read (or listened to) the other stories in the Vinyl Detective series, so I was really excited when I saw the new title Attack and Decay out on Audible. Now, was the excitement well founded? Read on…
Attack and Decay is the sixth novel in the Vinyl Detective series by Andrew Cartmel. In this episode, he is sent on an all-expenses paid trip to Sweden by Owyn Whyte of Ravyn Records to validate that a vinyl for sale is the genuine article. Naturally, Vinyl’s friends (Nevada Warren, Jordan Tinkler and Agatha Dubois-Kanes) are invited on the trip.
As ever with a Vinyl Detective novel, there is a musical theme to the story and Attack and Decay is no different. This time around its Demonic Metal (think of Death Metal but a heck of a lot darker!) and the group who produced this music were known as the Storm Dream Troopers. It seems that the church in Sweden was so offended by their album that they took it upon themselves to remove it from the shops. As a consequence, the album is very rare, commanding a high price which is why our hero is checking the merchandise.
As is often the case with these stories, the records become secondary to other events such as murder and general mayhem. This book is no exception, with several murders, seemingly playing out to the tracks on the album.
In a bit of a departure from the usual Vinyl Detective fare, the village of Trollesko in Sweden is the setting for most of the book. It all starts well enough, with our team hitting the local charity and coffee shops, but then the murders begin. We then become embroiled in a Scandi noir mystery.
Unfortunately, the story itself seems to be missing some of the sparkle of the previous novels. Whether it’s because some of the characters are behaving differently, there’s more swearing in this novel, or something else, I don’t know.
There are still some genuinely funny and thrilling moments, and the author manages to keep us guessing who the murderer is. which will please fans of the series.
The Vinyl Detective is still a bit of a mystery, we still don’t know his name, but he is pretty much the brains of the outfit. One who Kriminal Inspektor Eva Lizell constantly goes to for help in solving the case.
In the first few stories, Nevada was an excellent partner for the Vinyl Detective, however, her involvement in this story seems to have diminished a little. She doesn’t seem to be as gung-ho as she used to be, which is a shame. In contrast, Agatha Dubois-Kanes’ (aka Clean Head) gets more airtime when she is interviewed about her Paperback book blog.
Of all the characters, from my point of view, the least successful is Jordan Tinkler, who appears to be a poor caricature of his former self. He’s an outlandish individual who sometimes defies belief. What with his constant translation of Trollesko into English, the trunk filled with Nordic crime fiction, and diverting the taxi for a pizza and personal dance at a strip club? It all seems a bit much. In previous stories, he would get up to the odd outlandish act, but I think he’s been getting progressively worse.
Stinky Stanmer also returns. He was my least favourite character (probably intentionally), but now he seems more of a distraction.
I have loved reading the previous Vinyl Detective novels. They each have a certain charm to them which the current one seems to be lacking. For the rating, I was torn between three and four stars, but I gave the benefit of the doubt in this case.
I am still a massive fan of the vinyl detective series, but I was a little disappointed in this story.
I will still go out to buy the next one when it’s available 😃.
Note: Although it’s the sixth novel in the series, you don’t need to have read the previous five to enjoy it.
Once again, the audiobook was read brilliantly by Finlay Robertson. Production values were as ever excellent.