Blurb: The charred body of an enigmatic policeman – currently the subject of an internal investigation – is found in the burnt-out shell of his car on the Southend sea front.
Meanwhile, a vulnerable young woman, fresh out of the care system, is trying to discover the truth behind the sudden death of her best friend.
As DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell from the Essex Police Major Investigation Team are brought in to solve the mystery of their colleague’s death, dark, dangerous secrets begin to surface. Can they solve both cases, before it’s too late?
My Rating: 3/5
Review: I have to admit I struggled with this book. The premise of the story is good but it didn’t flow as well as it could have for me. For a debut novel it is definitely good and shows a lot of promise for more in the future but it didn’t grab me as much as I had thought it would.
The book starts with the gruesome murder of a policeman in his car , after that it skips back a few days and switches between DC Russell being interviewed in connection with a policeman under investigation and Donna, who wants questions about why her friend was killed and why no one cares about her. The first part of the book is taken up with this and it’s only when it catches up to the present day and starts to deal with the body in the burnt out car that the story picks up. I can understand wanting to build in some background, I’ve read plenty of books that have that in them, but in this I didn’t feel it added much to the story.
The characterisation was good but I didn’t get much sense of location, for a story set in Southend I felt it could have been set anywhere, there was nothing that stood out and distinguished the location that I remember.
The writing is good and, as I said it is a good debut novel and there is the promise there of further books in the series (it felt like the beginning of a series to me) becoming better and better and that is something I would be interested in seeing. It’s been a while since I read a police procedural set in the UK, so many crime books these days are psychological thrillers, so it made for a refreshing change and I hope that this will be the first of many from this author.
If you want to check out the other posts up today, the list of blog names is at the bottom of this post, enjoy!
Mark Hardie was born in 1960 in Bow, East London. He began writing fulltime after completely losing his eyesight in 2002. He has completed a creative writing course and an advanced creative writing course at the Open University, both with distinction.
Mark lives with his wife Debbie in Southend-on-Sea.