A Gentle Axe is the début crime novel from R. N. Morris. The author is also known as Roger Morris, whose contemporary urban novel Taking Comfort was published in 2006. To mark the début, an interview with the author can be found immediately below this post.
Let's be upfront here. You can't get away from the fact that this novel has a significant link to Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment (C&P). Police detective Porfiry Petrovich lives to see another day in fiction and moves to centre stage as the protagonist in Morris's A Gentle Axe. But you don't need to have read C&P to read this novel. Not at all.
This is a story that concentrates on Porfiry Petrovich's life and his investigation into the complex web of lies, linkages and intrigue that makes A Gentle Axe.