The Decalogue - Mark Pettinger - Book Cover
Detective, Mystery & Thriller

The Decalogue – Mark Pettinger

When DCI Jonny Priest transfers from the London Met to Gorton, he has no idea that his first case involves a serial killer – and a DS who despises him! 


DCI Priest #1

This is the first in the DCI Priest detective and crime novels. In order to be promoted to the rank of Detective Chief Inspector, DCI Priest of the London Met needs to move to Gorton, within the Greater Manchester Police Force. Even before his first day, his boss Superintendent Sawden orders him to get started. A murder has been committed – the second within two weeks – and DCI Jonny Priest is thrown into the deep. Priest will meet his new team at the crime scene: a nightclub. Among his team is Detective Sergeant Baxter, who has a deepfelt grudge against his new DCI. How will this work out? 


The first thing DCI Priest notices upon entering the crime scene is the Bible, strategically placed on the strangled man’s chest. This must have been the work of the murderer. The first strangled victim also had a Bible neatly placed upon his body which suggests a common demeanour, the same killer. The first victim was a travelling evangelist, the second a DJ in the aforementioned nightclub. It doesn’t take long before another murder is committed: another man is found strangled to death, like the first two with a Bible on his chest. The rumours and gossip have started, but DCI Priest is determined to not use the word ‘serial killer’ as he fears for a public outcry. Unfortunately for him, journalist Sally Millhouse is not afraid to use the term ‘serial killer’ for the three murders in relatively a short time frame. Somehow she is able to have remarkable details about the crime scenes which makes Priest wonder: who gave her the information?

With the third murder at hand and a DS (Baxter) who utterly despises Priest and therefore cannot be trusted, Jonny Priest decides to call in his former DS Nicola Stephens. Truth be told Nicola is more than that, she and Jonny were lovers for a while, despite Nicola being married. The reader is not sure DI Priest is acting wisely especially when Nicola, upon arriving in Gorton, sits in with an interrogation. The story gets complicated as the murders indeed seem the work of a serial killer – with no apparent connection between any of the victims whatsoever. Why do the victims have a Bible placed upon them? Perhaps a real priest can answer that question. Will the team get to the bottom of this and will Priest’s first case as a DCI be successful? Is he able to withhold the pressure both from the public as from his Super Sawden? Will Priest ever find out why Baxter hates him that much?

My Thoughts

The first book in the DCI Priest Series is an enjoyable read. The reader is introduced to Jonny Priest, his OCD and how he deals with it. You also get an insight into his love life: despite his name, he is no monk contrary to what DS Baxter loves to tell. In my opinion, the plot was slowed down occasionally by too many explanations, that could have been left out without consequences for the storyline. For example, both Nicola Stephen’s sleeping arrangements as Jonny Priest’s search for a house to rent are being described in more than one chapter – I found that a bit superfluous. However although the book is a bit of a slow starter, the characters are excellently described. The insights into the personal lives of the team members, their interactions and the resentments of DS Baxter, negatively influencing the CID team, offer interesting and captivating storylines. That makes ‘The Decalogue’ a promising first book in a new detective series.

The other instalments in the DCI Priest Series:
#2 ‘Tick Tock Time’s Up‘ – my review

About the Author


British author Mark Pettinger has a fascination for mysteries and thrillers and a keen interest in “the murky world of crime.” After settling down in a beautiful Yorkshire village, he started his writing career. This is his 2014 debut novel, introducing the reader to DCI Jonny Priest from the Metropolitan Police, who due to his promotion is transferred to Gorton in Greater Manchester Police Force.

Do you want to know more about Jonny Priest? Just click on his name and you will find all the details on his police career preceding his promotion to DCI.

Book Info

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 eBook  Kindle ed 1464 KB
 Publisher   BookBaby (25 Sept. 2014)
 Language   English
 Nook book ISBN-13  9781483538273

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