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Jane Tennison

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

 

 

The Dirty Dozen by Lynda La Plante

It is now 1980 and Jane Tennison has become the first female to be posted to the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad, colloquially known as ‘The Sweeney’. Thrown straight into investigating an armed robbery, Jane is proud of her achievements until she realises that her transfer is part of an experiment to try to tame the male dominated team known as ‘The Dirty Dozen’. Determined to prove her worth, Jane learns that a gang is about to carry out a multi-million pound raid, the only problem being she doesn’t know who they are and where or when the raid will take place…

The more this series progresses, the more we see Jane Tennison moving towards the no-nonsense detective we know and love from the Prime Suspect series. Now part of the famous Flying Squad, she is, again, having to fight the rampant sexism that exists in the police force, discovering that her posting is, in fact, part of an experiment. You can feel Jane’s frustration, a detective who deserves to be where she is due to her competence, yet it is still her sex that is dictating her role.

In The Dirty Dozen, we see the Flying Squad investigating an armed robbery but Jane is sidelined, tasked with the jobs that her boss deems unimportant. Fortunately for Jane, she grabs the challenge with both hands and, working alongside a fellow officer, Dabs, begins to uncover information that opens up the case. When she is sent on a wild goose chase to interview a potential witness, the whole investigation takes a turn after Jane realises that this information is gold dust. It was good to see Tennison trusting her instincts, refusing to give up even when her superiors displayed a lack of interest – this was definitely the tenacious Prime Suspect detective emerging.

Due to its 1980 setting, there is definitely an Ashes to Ashes feel to The Dirty Dozen and I could imagine Gene Hunt ”firing up the Quattro’ at any moment! Some of the vocabulary used in the book, especially to describe people, made me wince, but this is of the time and made me feel glad that this terminology is no longer acceptable. I always enjoy the references to real-life incidents in this series, in this case the Iranian Embassy siege, as it helps to place the book firmly in a particular time.

I am still absolutely loving this series and my only concern is that we are nearing the time when DCI Tennison will cross paths with George Marlow, taking us to the start of the Prime Suspect series. This is a series that I hope will continue for a while yet!

With thanks to Zaffre and Net Galley for my copy.

Take a look at my reviews of the rest of the series:

Tennison

Hidden Killers

Good Friday

Murder Mile

 

Murder Mile by Lynda La Plante

It’s 1979 and Jane Tennison has now risen to the rank of Detective Sergeant in Peckham CID. Strikes across Britain as part of the ‘Winter of Discontent’ have left rubbish mounding up on the streets and it is here where the body of a young woman is discovered, strangled. When a second body is found nearby, and then a third, days later, newspaper headlines are quick to decide that a serial killer is on the loose in what has now become known as ‘Murder Mile’. Fighting to overcome the sexism that is lingering in the police force, Jane knows that she needs to tread carefully if she is going to find the killer before any more bodies are discovered.

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Lynda La Plante’s work and I still maintain that Jane Tennison is one of the best (if not the best) detectives in fiction. This is now the fourth book in the Tennison series and I feel that we are now seeing signs of the Jane that we know and love from the Prime Suspect series. Her promotion to Sergeant has given her a bit more gravitas and, even though she is still dealing with the sexist attitudes of much of the force, she is now in a position to make people sit up and take notice.

In Murder Mile, Lynda la Plante has encapsulated the unrest in Britain in the winter of 1978-79 when widespread strikes in the public sector helped lead the Conservative party, under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher, to victory in the 1979 general election. The attention to detail such as this helps to create a very realistic setting, painting a clear image of the investigation. I feel that this would easily transfer to television, and I hope that, one day, we get the chance to watch it!

In a time before a lot of the more modern detection techniques, it is good to see Jane having to rely on her own instincts to help her to solve the case. As she tried to make a connection between the victims, it was good to see Jane questioning the theories of her superiors, although her fear of not being taken seriously often led to her putting herself in danger.

Murder Mile is another great addition to the Tennison series and I can’t wait for the next one as we approach the 1980s!

With thanks to Bonnier Zaffre and Netgalley for my ARC.

Take a look at my reviews for the rest of the Tennison series:

Tennison

Hidden Killers

Good Friday

 

 

 

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.

 

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!

The Night Stalker by Robert Bryndza

When the body of a local doctor is found naked with a plastic ‘suicide’ bag tied over his head, it is, at first, assumed to be a case of auto-erotic asphyxia. Not convinced, DCI Erika Foster heads the investigation into the murder and is soon shown to be correct when a second body is found with the same modus operandi. It is up to Foster to find the link between these men and stop ‘The Night Stalker’ before they strike again…

This, the second book in the DCI Erika Foster series, is arguably better than the first and that one (The Girl in the Ice) was pretty amazing! In addition to the case she is investigating, we get more of an insight into Erika’s personal life and discover exactly how she is coping in the aftermath of the death of her husband. The contrast between her hard professional persona and the vulnerability of her home life is written really well, especially when she comes into contact with the killer. It is not often that you feel empathy towards a serial killer, but Robert Bryndza’s writing manages to make this happen! Several times, whilst reading, I felt that there were comparisons between Erika Foster and Lynda La Plante’s legendary Jane Tennison – this is definitely not a bad thing!

One thing I really liked about this book was that it was clear quite early on who the killer was. It was nice to avoid the usual batch of red herrings that are found in books of this genre and, instead, be able to concentrate on the motives behind the murders.

The Night Stalker is extremely descriptive in parts and, as a result, the content makes your imagination run riot! I imagine there will be many readers carefully checking windows and looking under their beds before they go to sleep at night!

I am really enjoying Robert Bryndza’s foray into crime fiction and I eagerly await the third installment of Erika Foster’s story.

The Night Stalker is due to be published on June 2nd and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

This book was received from Net Galley and Bookouture in return for an honest review.

Tennison by Lynda La Plante

For me, the first series of ‘Prime Suspect’ will always be one of 912VEK4xaGLthe greatest pieces of television ever made. Lynda La Plante’s writing and the performance of Dame Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison made the character one of TV’s iconic images. When I found out that La Plante had written a prequel to the series, detailing the beginning of Tennison’s career, I couldn’t wait to read it.

Set in 1973, we first meet probationary, Jane Tennison, in her first posting in Hackney. A stark contrast to her obvious middle-class upbringing, she soon finds herself in a male-dominated police station, showing the desire to overcome the discrimination that we know she eventually manages to do. Her talents are soon noted and she manages to become involved in the investigation into the murder of a young prostitute. A chance meeting on the street also pulls Jane into another investigation where she is able to show her worth.

‘Tennison’ gives a good insight into police strategies of the day and also paints a clear picture of the main character – it was easy to imagine Helen Mirren playing this part on TV, just a pity that she is several decades too late! This book will transfer easily to TV and, hopefully, its success will spawn several sequels – it would be good to see what happens to Jane next as she climbs the promotional ladder.

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