Friday, 28 June 2013

Crime Fiction Week Guest Review: Stephen Booth - Already Dead

Reviewed by Danielle Pullen

A summer of endless rain in the Peak District leaves the officers of Derbyshire's CID with a problem. They have discovered a man's body lying in shallow water, but torrential rain has swollen the rivers and flooded the roads, making travel difficult and forensic examination impossible. 

And that's not all. The absence of DS Ben Cooper, on extended leave after an arson attack, has left a serious gap. DS Diane Fry is a reluctant temporary replacement, but now their makeshift team is about to be tested to the limit. The fatal events of one damp August night are likely to remain shrouded in mystery if they can't track down a car glimpsed only as a dark outline in the rain by a passer-by.

As the rain turns into a deluge, loyalties among the officers will be put under intolerable strain as they try to solve their toughest case yet. And that's before it emerges that Ben Cooper is not at home, but has vanished into thin air...

Already Dead is the 13th in the series of novels featuring the characters of Cooper and Fry.  Sharon reviewed the previous novel of the series, Dead and Buried, earlier this week.

Already Dead follows on where the previous novel left off, with police detective Ben Cooper on leave and coming to terms with the personal aftermath of losing a loved one and Diane Fry picking up the pieces and continuing to investigate a new case, one of which forms the central plot of this novel.

The main plotline concerns the murder of Glen Turner who is found in a ditch with all of his money and belongings nearby which rules out a bundled robbery.  Amidst this investigation, Fry is dealing with an inept team and a colleague who is out for revenge.

Although this novel could be read without prior knowledge of the series, it does feel as if the reader is only accessing part of a longer narrative and the characters don’t feel as well drawn as they might do if you had followed the series closely.  In addition, although the chapters are short, they are interwoven with the various sub-plots which can be rather confusing.  I must admit to skipping backwards and forwards to remind myself of the characters and connections at times.

In all honesty, this is perhaps one for fans of the series…

I'd like to thank Jo at Sphere for sending us a copy of this book to review.  Amazon links: Hardback, Trade Paperback or Kindle

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