What I want from a police procedural is a solid mystery and Alison Bruce came up with a plot for this, the sixth outing for Gary Goodhew in this mystery series based in Cambridge.
At the beginning of this book Gary Goodhew is still off sick after the events of the previous instalment and Susan Scully comes across something that she believes that Gary should be made aware of, but before she can decide how to break the news there is a murder! Ratty a well-known homeless man who Gary has used for information in the past has been murdered and now the team need to find out who he is and what the motive for his murder was.
I do like this series, the author has come up with a great cast of solid characters. The location is well-described and the secondary characters far more than cardboard cut-outs which all makes for a good background to the serious business of the investigation.
With Gary’s backstory being fleshed out and a bit of uncertainty with Marks due to retire imminently the book has the potential to be slightly confusing for those of us who haven’t read the entire series, but I found that despite only reading the first two books it worked well as a stand-alone even though I hadn’t kept up to date with everyone. This book really bought the homeless community in Cambridge to life so that I felt that the victim of the murder was intentionally chosen both by the fictional killer but more especially the author for a purpose.
We are also introduced to Kyle Davidson, a fairly new father as his life is beginning to unravel following his return from Afghanistan. With his wife spending levels high and her inability to put their son Harry at the centre of her life, and Kyle not being the same man he was before his latest tour of duty, I could only speculate how big the fall-out was likely to be. Kyle’s younger sister Leah was another great character, the author having realistically portrayed the life as a teenager without resorting to the tired clichés.
This was a solidly good read written at a good pace, not so fast that it is hard to keep up with all the action leaving no time to ponder on the clues left but neither were there plodding areas where you wonder when something is going to happen. Although nowhere near as brutal as some crime books, there were some descriptions that are best avoided if you are particularly squeamish but fortunately these weren’t dwelt upon for any more than necessary!
I am sorry that I have missed some of the books in this series and with this one seemingly pivotal in revealing much of Gary’s backstory, I’m not sure whether I will go back to read the missing episodes but I’m certainly well-motivated to read the future ones as I do enjoy the original yet not outlandishly so plots.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to the publishers, Little Brown Book Group UK who allowed me to read this book for which I have returned the favour by writing this review.
The Promise will be published on 4 February 2016
Previous books in the DC Gary Goodhew Series