Ok, so I am late to the party with this one, Death of a Painter has been on my TBR for a while now and the publication of the second in the series by Matt Ross (The Red Admiral’s Secret) prompted me to get my butt in gear and to get reading! And now I’m just kicking myself for taking so long!
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
IN THE BUILDING GAME TIME IS MONEY AND MONEY IS EVERYTHING. UNFORTUNATELY FOR MARK POYNTER, HE’S RUN OUT OF MONEY AND HE’S FAST RUNNING OUT OF TIME.When Mark Poynter discovers a murder on his worksite all of his financial problems suddenly seem a lot closer to home: was this a warning his debts are overdue?
Suspected of being the killer and worried at being the intended victim, the murder only makes Mark’s money problems worse, leading him to turn to the local villain, Hamlet, who has his own unique repayment plan in mind for Mark.
When two more deaths plunge him even further into debt, Mark finds himself faced with a choice – help the police and clear his name or help the villain and clear his debt.
Set in the Medway Towns on the grey margins of criminality, where no job’s too big, no dodge’s too small …
From the very outset you are promised crime fiction with a difference and let me tell you, nobody reneges on that promise at all! I’ve never once picked up a crime fiction novel where the construction trade featured so prominently in terms of the main characters. I wasn’t sure what to expect? Would I be confused by technical terms or put off by laddish loutiness! No and No are the answers to those questions! Death of a Painter is nothing like that at all! It is pacey and full to the brim with dark humour. It has a cast of characters, many of whom I’m sure most of us have come across in the past, and many of whom, none of us would like to meet in real life.
The main character, Mark Poynton, electrician, finds himself up the creek without a paddle when his workmate is found murdered on the floor of a customer’s half-finished kitchen. Is it wrong that I sniggered when he lamented that he wouldn’t get the job completed before the weekend! Is it wrong that I sniggered quite a few times throughout this book. You see murder isn’t meant to be funny but Matthew Ross has combined humour and crime to bring something quite unique to the crime fiction table. Honestly, at times I felt as though I was back in my days working behind the bar with characters such as Disco and Uncle Bern bringing a cheeky grin to the table.
But the book is more than dark humour, there are some quite raw and emotional points in the storyline, exploring loss and grief, which strangely enough, set against this backdrop of dark humour made them all the more poignant and authentic. I’m not ashamed to say that the scenes where Mark is talking to his dad, caused a little bit of grit in my eye!
So, do yourself a favour, if you haven’t read this one, go buy it now, you will not be disappointed!
Death of a Painter is available to purchase via
About the author
Matthew Ross was born and raised in the Medway Towns, England. He still lives in Kent with his Kiwi wife, his children and a very old cat.
He was immersed in the building industry from a very early age helping out on his father’s sites during school holidays before launching into his own career at 17. He’s worked on projects ranging from the smallest domestic repair to £billion+ infrastructure, and probably everything in between.
A lifelong comedy nerd, he ticked off a bucket-list ambition and tried his hand at stand-up comedy. Whilst being an experience probably best forgotten (for both him and audiences alike) it ignited a love for writing, leading to various commissions including for material broadcast on BBC Radio 4 comedy shows.
Matthew moved into the longer format of novel writing after graduating from the Faber Academy in London in 2017.
‘Death Of A Painter’ is his first novel and the first in a planned series of stories featuring Mark Poynter and his associates.