Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2017, Book Review, Books I have read

Broken Heart – Tim Weaver #20booksofsummer

Crime Fiction
3*s

A car-park in Somerset is the scene of the disappearance of Linda Korin who drove in one day, left her car and was never seen again. The police investigate but are unable to come up with a satisfactory query of what happened the most likely explanation is that she went into the sea, a theory that doesn’t really stack up as the tide was out at the time her car is captured on CCTV going into the car park. After months with no news Linda’s sister in America asks David Raker to take on the case.

Tim Weaver has produced something quite special with this series, Broken Heart being the seventh book. We have crime fiction but the focus is on missing people rather than dead bodies and in doing so often uncovers tales which are mulit-layered and unusual. Here we have a woman in her sixties, and although she is beautiful having been a former model and actress in second-rate horror movies, she is not the typical crime fiction victim.

The story had me engaged, from the start I was trying to work out how the facts presented could be, you see this is one author that doesn’t ‘cheat.’ There is no trying to gloss over incontrovertible facts by having random witnesses lying for no good reason all the many problems to solve, and there are lots within this novel, are unravelled fairly. After a skype meeting with Linda’s sister, Wendy Fisher he begins to look at her early life with her husband who had been a famous film director until he was exiled from Hollywood to Spain for being a communist.

Having read and been engaged in the lives of the subjects, as well as fully entertained by David Raker himself in the previous books I found this one veered perhaps down a too convoluted path for me although I am mindful that due to events in my personal life I wasn’t perhaps in the right frame of mind for any book at this time. So my observations are that there was more violence in this episode than the previous books in the series and the expose into film making was fascinating but perhaps a little bit too ‘nerdy’ for those of us who aren’t as thrilled by the subject as Tim Weaver as a result the endless playing of sections of a film, a director obsessed by his star and lost copies of films made years previously which included fairly lengthy explanations of how originals need to be stored to keep them from deteriorating slowed the pace down for me. If you have a love of old Hollywood movies, especially those naff horror ones, then you will love this aspect. What is not in doubt that there is a complicated mystery to be solved and my sleuthing didn’t even come close.

Ultimately although the storyline was inspired by the film world, underneath, as in all good books this is about people and you don’t have to have an interest in the parts to be interested in how others behave.

Broken Heart was my tenth read in my 20 Books of Summer 2017  Challenge.

First Published UK: 28 July 2016
Publisher: Penguin
No of Pages: 528
Genre: Crime Fiction Series
Amazon UK
Amazon US 

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

What Remains – Tim Weaver

Crime Fiction 4*s
Crime Fiction
4*s

Having joined this series with the fourth book in the series featuring David Raker, Vanished, and having awarded that one the full five stars I was equally impressed with the fifth, Fall From Grace but in this book the chief protagonist isn’t looking for a missing person, he is looking at a cold case. To be honest I wasn’t overly impressed with the change of direction, I liked the fact that we had books which didn’t feature a murder hunt but were still full of action.

In this book Raker meets an old friend Colm Healy who has been haunted by the murder of Gail Clark and her twin daughters Abigail and April back in 2010, the case hadn’t been solved and Colm’s life had gone into freefall. First his job went, then his marriage, his house and his friends all disappeared, all except Raker. While the Missing Persons Private Investigator takes a little convincing, he eventually agrees and starts to investigate, but this time he has little to go on as the murdered woman has few social contacts to give him a lead. Still he still has some friends in useful places to assist should he find any corner to peel back, and of course he does, this is investigator extraordinaire, David Raker.

This is a complicated, and long story at over 550 pages, and several times I thought that the end was in sight only for the plot to twist in a different direction often seemingly back on itself as Raker doesn’t only want to find out how the shadowy villains are connected but why they murdered two innocent eight year olds. The somewhat convoluted storyline is compensated for by the excellent writing, Tim Weaver captures a wide range of emotions better than any other crime writer I can think of, and although the pace was patchy in places I was engaged in the hunt for the perpetrator. As with the other two books in this series, there is a depth to the investigation with parts of London bought to life albeit with a dark shadow falling across the familiar and less known landmarks. With an almost ghostly feel to the investigation the setting on a disused pier in Wapping seemed perfectly suited as was the labyrinth of Camden market when a lead took the men to an antique shop.

This book contained far more violence than the previous two, partly I suspect because of the nature of the fact that the investigation was into a murder rather than a missing person, but overall it didn’t feel gratuitous and the skill of the author had me genuinely concerned about the suffering inflicted on some of the characters.
The real lynch-pin to the story is will Raker become as consumed by finding out what happened to Gail Clark and those two innocent girls as Healy was. Will he be able to live with himself, continue to build his life with his recently discovered daughter and maybe even a relationship if he doesn’t get a complete answer? What will remain indeed!

I’d like to thank Penguin UK for allowing me to read What Remains which was published on 16 July 2015 in return for my honest opinion.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Fall From Grace – Tim Weaver

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

David Raker makes his fifth outing as the Private Investigator that locates missing people, a thorn in the side of the Metropolitan Police because although he normally finds what he is looking for it is done by playing by the rules, but now a member of the force is looking for his help in tracking down her father Leonard Franks.

The trail for Franks is set across Dartmoor where he and his wife Melanie moved to enjoy a retirement in an oasis of calm after years of top level policing in London. David Raker takes the case and sets about putting the meagre clues left behind to work out what had happened to a man who appears to have disappeared into thin air.

I have only read the third book in this series, Vanished, which I awarded five stars, and in the meantime I’d forgotten quite how much I enjoy the quality of Tim Weaver’s writing. As a reader I care about David Raker, the plot is full of twists and turns with danger appearing to lurk around every corner but at no point did I feel that the tale had veered off the path of reality. Don’t get me wrong, as in Vanished there are some characters that you wouldn’t want to meet in broad daylight, let alone on a dark night, but once unravelled their motives are understandable.

Underpinning this book are the secrets kept hidden along with relationships of almost every description: friends, colleagues, partners, parental and sibling and at no point do any of these feel out of place but instead add to the complexity of this novel.

To break up the current investigation into Franks death we are treated to some psych evaluations going back many years, the purpose of these isn’t immediately obvious but even while I was waiting for this to become clear they add to the feeling of menace that threads through this book.

This can be easily read as a stand-alone book, although like me, you may regret not reading the books in order as there was quite a big piece to the story arc that I missed by not reading the fourth book, Chasing the Dead. I am now going back to the beginning to read this set in order, the writing is too clever and too captivating for me to miss out on a single sentence of Tim Weaver’s writing, he has now sealed his position of an author whose books I need to read, no more languishing on the TBR pile.

I want to say an enormous thank you to Penguin Books (UK) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for my honest opinion. Fall From Grace was published on 14 August 2014.

David Raker Series in order:

Chasing The Dead
The Dead Tracks
Vanished
Never Coming Back
Fall From Grace