The body of a young woman has been found, and Detective Inspector Beatrice Kaspary is called to the scene. But there is something strange about this body: there are numbers tattooed onto the foot of the corpse. Upon her investigation, Beatrice discovers that these numbers are actually GPS coordinates, and that a killer is playing a dangerous game with many lives on the line.
Five is a suspenseful novel with well-written characters; though I had issues with aspects of the police investigation, I still enjoyed this unique crime novel.
Five is a crime novel with a twist: geocaching. This is a game people play where they input coordinates into a GPS and try to find a “cache,” some sort of small prize. It’s increasing in popularity, so it’s not a surprise that it has found its way into literature. Archer uses geocaching in an interesting way in this novel, and it makes for a unique read.
Beatrice Kaspary is a woman who lives for her job in Five. She has children and an angry, bitter ex-husband (almost a caricature, to be honest), but her job is the center of her life. Readers will certainly sympathize with Beatrice as she navigates the difficult politics of being a woman in a man’s job; she’s an interesting woman, and if this is indeed the first book in a series, I’m curious to see where Archer will take Beatrice from here.
There are aspects of Five that didn’t work so well, however, mainly the thoroughness of the investigation. This is very much a book where the killer is leading and the police are scrambling to catch up. There isn’t much forward movement in that respect; sometimes it feels as though the police are just waiting for something else to happen so they can react. There’s a revelation in the final parts of the book that should have come much earlier, and it’s puzzling why the police didn’t pursue this avenue of inquiry earlier (other than prolonging the plot for the book).
Despite my issues with Five, though, I still found it enjoyable. I’m not sure whether it’s the first in a series, but Archer writes her characters well, and I’d be happy to revisit Beatrice in another novel. It’s certainly suspenseful and Archer takes the reader on unexpected twists and turns; if you enjoy crime novels, you should consider picking this book up.