Review: Grimm – The Chopping Block / Author: John Passarella / Publisher: Titan / Release Date: February 28th
The Grimm series of tie-in novels continues with The Chopping Block, a book different to its predecessor The Icy Touch, but no less effective. Anyone who’s seen an episode of Grimm will know what to expect, and The Chopping Block sticks to that recipe: a strange murder case for Detectives Burkhardt and Griffin, plenty of twists and turns, the revelation that Wesen are involved, help from Monroe, followed by jeopardy, conflict, and the eventual solving of the case.
It’s a formula, for sure, but one that’s tried and tested; here, it's found to be reliable, making this book read like a darker and grittier version of what’s seen on screen. Novels allow us to get into the heads of characters, whether hero or villain, but here the author also pushes us into the mind of the victims; one scene where a man is trying to escape is utterly unnerving, as the reader feels his fear and the palpable tension that goes with it. Any writer wanting to evoke atmosphere and downright terror would do well to read this particular chapter, a superlative piece of horror writing.
It’s not a one-off, either. The quality continues throughout the book. It’s a tight, taut and tense thriller – Nick and Hank working on this case alone, rather than trying to show us as much of the Grimm universe as possible. It’s assumed that the reader knows the background of the series, meaning any explanations are short and sweet, allowing the plot to take centre stage. Yet, as in the TV series, any new characters that turn up are instantly suspect, although there is a certain fun in guessing if any of them is a red herring.
That’s a minor quibble; author John Passarella has written an exciting, dramatic and at times unsettling book, one that sticks to the format of its source material, yet uses it to craft a well-told tale that would be too dark for TV, the words playing in the mind of the reader, allowing the imagination free reign. It’s a novel that’s incredibly difficult to put down and, while not as grand in scale as the previous Grimm novel, slots nicely into the series (we’re even given a ‘historian’s note’ to tell us where), whetting the appetite for more, whether it be on page or screen.