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Hidden Killers

Blunt Force by Lynda La Plante

Detective Jane Tennison is no longer part of the famed ‘Flying Squad’, now finding herself working at Gerald Road, a station not exactly known for its involvement in dangerous crime. Everything is about to change though, when the body of theatrical agent Charlie Foxley is found at his home, brutally assaulted with a cricket bat, dismembered and disembowelled.  Working alongside her old friend DS Spencer Gibbs, Jane must enter into the unfamiliar world of show business to find the killer before they strike again.

It’s no secret that I am a huge Lynda La Plante fan, in particular of her Prime Suspect/Tennison series and so I always look forward to seeing what she has in store for the detective. I have enjoyed seeing her development from police probationer to a fine detective in the making, the traits of the character in the Prime Suspect television series beginning to shine through. In the previous book, we saw Jane working for the male-dominated Flying Squad, also seeing how abruptly her time there came to an end, and I was pleased to see that this was dealt with in Blunt Force, although I feel that there could still be more repercussions to come as a result of Jane’s actions.

The main plot moves on at a slow pace, allowing the story to develop naturally, giving us a chance to get to know the supporting cast of characters. The investigations concentrate on the world of showbusiness, a world that the detectives are clearly unfamiliar with, and one where they know that they are only being told half truths by many of the people they interview. Like Tennison and Gibbs, I felt that there was something they were missing and when this was finally revealed, it threw the whole case completely on its head. Part of this story is left unfinished and I hope that this is because the author revisits it in a forthcoming book as I feel that this is where we could definitely see some of Jane Tennison’s legendary tenacity.

Although this is very much a police procedural, its 1980s setting makes it different from many of the series around today. It is refreshing to see the police relying upon their wits and investigative skills rather than having them stuck behind a desk, computer-bound like in the present day.

Blunt Force is another great addition to the Tennison series and I can’t wait to see how her career continues to progress. If you haven’t read the rest of the series, here are my reviews:

Tennison

Hidden Killers

Good Friday

Murder Mile

The Dirty Dozen

 

 

Good Friday by Lynda La Plante

71sRUnuQnbLNow a detective, Jane Tennison is part of the ‘Dip Squad’, a group of police officers tasked with the surveillance and apprehension of gangs of organised pick-pockets on the streets of London. Her time with this department is short-lived, however, when on her way to court, she finds herself caught up in the middle of an IRA bombing at Covent Garden tube station that leaves several people dead. As an eyewitness who could possibly identify the bomber, Jane’s life is put at risk when a photo of her assisting the injured appears in the newspaper. With another attack planned and the annual CID dinner about to take place, can Jane and her colleagues thwart the atrocity before it takes place?

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Lynda La Plante’s work, in particular the Anna Travis and original Prime Suspect books and so I am still beside myself with excitement that she decided to write prequels to the Tennison story. Good Friday is slightly different to the previous two books in the series, Tennison and Hidden Killers in that we see more of how different departments of CID operate. Also, despite it being set in the 1970s, the subject of indiscriminate terrorist attacks is just as relevant today as it was back then.

In Good Friday, Jane is, once again, suffering from discrimination because of her sex but we see the tide starting to turn as more people are beginning to realise just what she can offer as a detective. Although in previous books we have seen her tenacity, I feel that this is the first time where I truly saw traits of the Jane Tennison that would go on to arrest and convict George Marlow at Southampton Row. Jane’s personal life also comes under intense scrutiny, once again, as she is pursued by an array of suitors – not all of them with her best intentions at heart.

Although there were several attempts to misdirect, I did manage to work out who the ‘sleeper’ was, but this did not spoil my enjoyment of the book in any way. I enjoyed reading about police tactics and surveillance of the time and the ways in which they sought out criminals. I do feel, though, that there is more still to come from the sub-plot concerning the abuse and prostitution of the young women as this did not feel fully resolved.

Such was the brilliance of Helen Mirren in playing Tennison in the ITV series Prime Suspect, it is very difficult not to imagine her delivering the lines as you read Good Friday. This is not a bad thing, though, as this, along with Lynda La Plante’s writing style makes this a quick read that is just like spending time with an old friend. I’m already looking forward to the next one!

With thanks to Readers First and Zaffre for my ARC.

 

My Books of 2016

2016 has been a great year for books, especially for crime and thriller fans! With so many to choose from, it has been difficult to choose my ten favourites, but I think I’ve just about managed it!

The Silence Between Breaths by Cath Staincliffe

By far, my favourite book of the year, and one whose plot will stay with me for a long time. Telling the story of a suicide bomber onboard a train bound for London, Cath Staincliffe’s novel is emotional and fast-paced and is one that makes you ask the question, “What would I do in that situation?”

Follow Me / Watch Me by Angela Clarke

51g8rpiawvlA slight cheat, as this is actually two books, but I couldn’t separate them! The first books in Angela Clarke’s ‘Social Media Murders’ series show how the likes of Twitter and Snapchat can help to bring out the worst in people and they certainly make you question your own social media usage. Having just finished Watch Me, I do hope that there’s a third book on the horizon!

Kindred by Steve Robinson

I do love a good genealogical mystery and, for me, Steve Robinson is the master of them! Told in two timeframes – the present and World War Two – this is, at times, an incredibly emotive book as genealogist, Jefferson Tayte, uncovers the truth about his own family. Dealing with The Holocaust  and the events of Kristallnacht, this is not a light-hearted read, but one that truly shows what millions of people endured at that time.

The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza

I could have included any of Robert Bryndza’s three ‘DCI Erika Foster’ books as they are all as brilliant as each other but decided to go with the one that started off the series. In Erika, we have a feisty, no-nonsense police officer who will stop at nothing to secure a conviction. Of course, like a lot of fictional detectives, she has a traumatic backstory, and this has helped her to become as determined as she is. Robert Bryndza’s foray into crime fiction has been a very welcome addition to the genre.

The Daughters of Red Hill Hall by Kathleen McGurl

It’s always  good sign when, after reading a book, you immediately download other books by the same author. This was what happened after reading The Daughters of Red Hill Hall. This is really two stories within a book, one set in the present day and one set during the Victorian era. In 1838, two sisters have been found shot but who was the culprit and how is the story linked to the present day? The book is billed as, ‘A gripping novel of family, secrets and murder’ and this is indeed true!

Then She Was Gone by Luca Veste

For me, Luca Veste is fast becoming one of the crime writers. Set in Liverpool, the books follow the work of DI David Murphy, a born and bred Scouser, and DS Laura Rossi, a Liverpudlian of Italian descent. One of the main strengths in this series is the relationship between the two main characters. What I really enjoyed about this book was that I had no idea who the culprit was and was left guessing until the very end.

Lost and Gone Forever by Alex Grecian

51ZBjJC54-L._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Victorian crime is a big interest of mine and, for the past few years, I have eagerly anticipated the next of Alex Grecian’s Murder Squad books. After the shocking end to the previous book, The Harvest Man, I couldn’t wait to find out what had happened to Detective Walter Day. Lost and Gone Forever really shows the depraved side of Victorian society whilst also showing the growing importance of females. A great read!

The Disappearance by Annabel Kantaria

When I started to read this, I thought it was going to be a straightforward whodunnit: a woman disappears from a ship; how and why? It was so much more, though, telling the life story of Audrey Templeton and the consequences of her actions and those of other people. Heart-warming and distressing in equal measures.

The Silent Girls by Ann Troup

Edie inherits a house in the same square where five women were killed years before and soon finds herself drawn into the events of the past. This is a very dark story but one which is well-written and contains wonderful description. There are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing up until the end.

Hidden Killers by Lynda La Plante

51dispit6tl-_sx320_bo1204203200_I’ve always been a massive Prime Suspect fan so was ecstatic when Lynda La Plant started to write prequels to the original story. Hidden Kilers, like the first book, Tennison, helps to explain the character of Jane Tennison that we all know so well. Providing an insight into how difficult it was for the first group of female detectives, hopefully this series will go on and on!

Hidden Killers by Lynda La Plante

51dispit6tl-_sx320_bo1204203200_When WPC Jane Tennison is commended for her bravery after successfully ensnaring a man wanted for a series of sexual assaults, she is rewarded with the chance to start her career as a detective. Her first call-out, the non-suspicious death of a young mother found drowned in her bath, leaves her feeling uneasy, as she doubts whether the death is, indeed, accidental. With her also experiencing doubts about the reliability of statements signed by the attacker she so bravely fought off, Jane must now battle with her conscience and decide whether she should put her career before honesty.

With 2016 marking the 25th anniversary of the original Prime Suspect series and the forthcoming ‘Tennison’ TV series about to air, Hidden Killers is a welcome addition to the Jane Tennison backstory. Picking up from where the previous book, Tennison, left off, we find Jane about to complete her probationary period as a WPC. Again, we see the problems she faces being a woman in a predominantly male profession and how she has to overcome these barriers in order to achieve recognition.

Jane’s tenacity is apparent throughout the book and we start to see the ‘never give up’ attitude we have grown to love throughout the Prime Suspect television series. One of the things am really enjoying about these prequels is that  Lynda la Plante has stayed loyal to the later stories and it is easy to see how the woman we are reading about progresses into the character we know so well.

One thing that has always fascinated me about Lynda la Plante’s novels is the use of the word ‘schlepp.’ This word always appears several times in her books and I admit to awaiting its appearance when I am reading! I was not disappointed with this book!

Another 5 star read and I await the next one eagerly!

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