Purged by Peter Laws

Review published on September 28, 2017.

Peter Laws has brought a fascinating debut out, which brings a different perspective on a crime thriller. This is not a police procedural thriller, but an ex-pastor, now a university professor of sociology, who happens to help the police out with religiously motivated crimes.

Matt Hunter and his wife, Wren, are taking their children away for a few weeks to a cottage in Oxfordshire, on the edge of what seems like the idyllic English country village. What he does notice is that everywhere he looks there are wooden crosses, on doors, in shop windows. No matter, as Wren is there at the invitation of the local evangelical church as they wish to employ her as an architect to do some interior redesigning.

During the holiday, a number of local women have gone missing and Matt gets caught up in the investigation. It would not be so bad, if Matt had not known the pastor, who he was at Bible college with years before. It does not help that Matt and the pastor clash, especially over their interpretation of Christianity and the works of the local church and the community.

Matt’s lack of belief is challenged throughout, by the police and the Christian community, so much so that the police investigation takes over his thinking. It does not help that he recognises the Christian overtones in the disappearances and the irony in the name of the village, Hobbs Hill, as Hobbs being the old English word for the devil.

An excellent debut thriller, that is intriguing in its approach to the thriller genre, which makes it an enjoyable read throughout.

Paul Diggett 4/4

Purged by Peter Laws
Allison & Busby 9780749020781 pbk Feb 2017

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