Influence by Chris Parker


I was intrigued to hear about Influence; a psychological thriller which I was interested to see is set in my home city of Nottingham. What I discovered upon reading was a fascinating crime thriller with an interesting concept.

‘You were born with nothing. Knowing nothing. And from the moment you took your first breath the influence began.’

The first in a trilogy, Influence introduces us to Marcus Kline, an expert in communication and the art of influencing and reading people. Marcus is a man who can seemingly read a person’s thoughts by picking up on the most subtle of signals. This was an idea which immediately intrigued me. We are presented here with a fascinating character who is clever and quite mysterious. Chris Parker himself has studied communication for many years and his knowledge on the subject was evident throughout the novel. Whilst there was a lot of information to take in, the attention to detail was excellent and it made for a thought provoking read. Before long, a situation arises where Marcus and his skills are needed…

‘He also had one very special, and secret, source of support.’

Events in the novel take a sinister turn as Detective Inspector Peter Jones is investigating a series of grisly murders. Frequently turning to his skilled friend for advice on cases, Peter needs Marcus more than ever to get to the bottom of the unusual deaths. So begins a gripping search for answers with an interesting array of characters. I was kept guessing to the very end as to who was responsible for the crimes and I never quite knew who could be trusted which kept up the interest. The crimes themselves were very gruesome and there were some very chilling moments in the novel. One particular moment made me glad I didn’t choose to rent the ground floor canalside apartment I once looked at!

‘The question is what do you want to be known for?’

I liked that this was a novel that focused on the psychological rather than just the physical. It raised interesting points about how easy it is to manipulate a person and how vulnerable a person can be, despite how bright and skilled they may be. This was also present in the alternate storylines that weave through the novel. This isn’t just about Peter and Marcus solving a crime but it is about their relationship with each other and with their partners and colleagues. Also, whilst they may play a smaller role, some of these supporting characters had their own stories to tell, stories that may develop as the trilogy progresses.

‘Sometimes, though, the ocean took you as its plaything’

I enjoyed reading Influence. It has the appeal of a gripping crime novel combined with a thought provoking look at the power of the human mind. I await with interest the next instalment in the trilogy to see what lies ahead for Marcus Kline.

Influence is published by Urbane Publications. Many thanks to Matthew at Urbane for providing a copy for review.

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