Post Script: Wrongful Death – Lynda La Plante

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Wrongful Death

Lynda La Plante

 Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 9781471125836

 

Description:

Six months after the body of Josh Reynolds, a London nightclub owner, was found and determined by police and coroner to be a suicide, DCS James Langton tasks DCI Anna Travis to review the case. Reynolds died from a single gunshot wound to the head, the gun held in his right hand. But details are emerging that suggest someone else may have fired the gun… As soon as she wraps up the case, Langton tells Anna, she can join him at the FBI Academy in Virginia for training. Meanwhile, a Senior FBI Agent, Jessie Dewar, crime scene expert, is seconded to Anna’s team as part of her research and immediately the competence of the original investigation team is questioned…

My View:

I have very mixed feelings about this book, it had a very slow start, so slow I was noticing the grammatical errors rather than being involved in the narrative, and I felt that most of the conversations were stilted and overly formal and the overall premise was a little too contrived and convoluted. I was really miffed when on page 401 Joan says “…but why does Gloria kill Marisha months after Samuel.” At this point in the narrative Marisha is not dead, she is in hospital, in a coma, and she is certainly not dead as Joan states. This sentence just needed the words try to, “why did Gloria try to kill…” I found these little editorial glitches very irritating – an obvious sign I was just not willing to suspend any disbelief and settle into the story.

Despite my irritations with elements in this book I did read this in one sitting – I was keen to see how the narrative played out. I think if you do not examine this too closely this is a passable police procedural. Possibly this is a book for die hard fans of the author and this series.

 

Post Script: Sinister Intent – Karen M Davis

Sinister Intent, Karen M. Davis

Sinister Intent

Karen M Davis

Simon & Schuster Australia

A CBS Company

ISBN: 9781922052520

Description:
For eight years Lexie Rogers has been a uniform cop in Sydney’s red light district, Kings Cross. Having survived a violent knife attack, she’s witnessed far more than most cops her age. Now she’s back at work as the newest member of the Bondi Junction detectives’ office and ready to start again.

One of her first jobs is to execute a search warrant at a bikie clubhouse, one of the two local gangs in the eastern suburbs. What she uncovers begins a chilling investigation into a vicious world where loyalty is deadly and unwavering and can’t be bought . . . Or can it?

Lexie forms an unlikely alliance with one of the bikies, who’s realised his family’s in danger. But what neither of them knows is that Lexie is the one who’s in too deep. She knows too much. – See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com.au/Sinister-Intent/Davis-Karen-M/9781922052520#sthash.hG4rpdsI.dpuf

 

My View:

For the lovers of the police procedural.

An outstanding debut novel and a wonderful police procedural with enduring and empathetic characters, what more could you ask for? Karen M Davis has managed to capture the essence of a great crime read; a great narrative, a surprising ending, plenty of drama and suspense, an authentic voice and settings that are realistic. I really enjoyed this read and liked the main characters; the camaraderie and rapport  between the police officers at the station felt natural, the good guys had their flaws but this just added to their credibility and the bad guys were where you least hoped to find them, hidden in plain sight.

A most enjoyable read that I hope if the first of many from this author. I look forward to Ms Davis’s next offering with anticipation. 

Post Script: The Dying Hours – Mark Billingham

The Dying Hours

Mark Billingham

Grove/Atlantic

Atlantic Monthly Press

ISBN: 9780802121486

Description:

A fantastic, never-before-published Tom Thorne novel by England’s crime king.

It’s been twenty-five years since Tom Thorne last went to work wearing the “Queen’s cloth” but now, having stepped out of line once too often, he’s back in uniform. He’s no longer a detective, and he hates it.

Still struggling to adjust, Thorne becomes convinced that a spate of suicides among the elderly in London are something more sinister. His concerns are dismissed by the Murder Squad he was once part of and he is forced to investigate alone.

Now, unable to trust anybody, Thorne risks losing those closest to him as well as endangering those being targeted by a killer unlike any he has hunted before. A man with nothing to lose and a growing list of victims. A man who appears to have the power to make people take their own lives.

My View:

I have read a few of the earlier  books in the Tom Thorne series and I must comment that whilst I enjoyed the mystery being resolved I did find the focus a little to gory in most incidents, whilst this episode is more  a psychological crime thriller, yes there is violence but there is much much more. The opening pages had me hooked – very clever and the twist took me by surprise, a great way to start a novel and it is a novel that can be read as a standalone or read in chronological order of the series.

A mostly bleak look at ageing, death, relationships, regrets, revenge and suicide, this book is written in shades of grey – there is no joy, there is no light.  I did not find the relationship of Tom and Helen to be at all convincing, just another drab, grey, unexciting chapter of Tom’s life and maybe that is what Billingham wanted to convey – that Tom’s life was as lifeless as cardboard cut out, and if so he succeeded.  However once you get over the greyness of the relationships in this book the psychological drama unfolds and captivates.  Revenge is a powerful motivator, the executing of the deeds was cold blooded and without emotion; what a sad reflection on life and I am glad this story is not based on actual events.

Billingham successfully creates a police procedural that is believable, detailed and prosaic. The economics of Modern Policing are a sad indication of how work in general has been reduced to tick boxes and outcomes of key performance indicators … echoing Tom’s life; grind and more grind. I felt as worn down as Tom was after reading this story.

Post Script: Bad Blood – Arne Dahl

Bad Blood

Arne Dahl

Random House UK, Vintage Publishing

Harvill Secker

ISBN: 9781448137541

Description

Set to be the new Scandinavian crime sensation from BBC Four: in Bad Blood, Detective Paul Hjelm and his team are called in to try and catch an American serial killer on the loose in Sweden.

Detective Paul Hjelm and his team receive an urgent call from the FBI. A murderer whose methods bear a frightening resemblance to a serial killer they believed long dead is on his way to Sweden.

For years the FBI hunted the so-called ‘Kentucky Killer’, their agents haunted by the terrible injuries he inflicted on his victims through his signature device: a weapon that squeezed the vocal chords shut. Has he somehow returned from beyond the grave to torture a new generation, or do they have a copy-cat on their hands? And what do they want in Sweden?

If they are to capture the killer, the team must collaborate with their colleagues in the FBI on a desperate hunt that will take them from rainswept city streets to deserted Kentucky farmhouses, and will push them to the limits of their endurance.

 

My View:

I thought that the first eighty odd pages of history and establishing of the unsympathetic characters was far too long and tedious, the story took a long time to develop and gain momentum but once it did it was riveting.  Being a police procedural in style I can easily see how this story could translate successfully to the small screen (BBC4 has picked this title and series up and I believe it has already screened).

I like hearing the behind the scenes banter and theorising; the blackboard of what ifs and whys and the progress the team made. The plot was complex and the crimes horrific but perhaps more grotesques were the discussion about manipulation and abuse of power that this story evokes. Manipulation – of facts, of representations, of stereotypes, of events, of abuse of power (both political and personal) are the issues that are like a scab on the knee that we cannot leave alone, that is slowly picked away at and exposed.