Monday, 24 June 2013

Crime Fiction Week Review: Stephen Booth - Dead and Buried

Brutal acts of firestarting have ravaged the Peak District, and now a new wave of moorland infernos sweeps across the national park. For DS Ben Cooper, the blazes are best left to the firefighters, even with the arsonists still at large.

But when an intruder breaks into an abandoned pub, Cooper is on the case - and he swiftly unearths a pair of grim surprises. The first is evidence of a years-old double homicide. And the second is a corpse, newly dead...

What links the three deaths? Where are the missing bodies? Who is responsible - and how do the raging fires fit in? For Cooper and his rival DI Diane Fry, it's the most twisted investigation of their lives... and with an ingenious killer pulling the strings, it could also be their last.

Bush fires have been ravaging the Peak District countryside and firefighters are fighting a losing battle trying to tackle the fires and prevent damage to properties and potential loss of life.  After being called in to investigate whether the fires were started deliberately, D.S. Ben Cooper soon finds that he has more pressing issues to deal with when items belonging to a missing couple who'd disappeared a couple of years previously are discovered buried within the fire zone.

His ex-colleague D.I. Diane Fry thought that she had escaped Derbyshire when she was promoted to the Major Crimes Unit but she soon finds herself back working alongside Cooper when the cold case connected to the missing couple is re-opened. 

Whilst re-tracing the couples final steps Fry discovers a body in a derelict pub, could this murder be connected to the cold case and were the fires started deliberately to try and erradicate evidence?  And will Cooper and Fry be able to work alongside each other harmoniously to try and solve both the old and the new crimes?

Despite Dead and Buried being the 12th book in the Cooper and Fry series from Stephen Booth, it can be read as a standalone as I did having not read any of the previous 11 books in the series, as on the whole managed to follow the dynamics between the two central characters Ben Cooper and Diane Fry.

I have to confess though that there were a couple of occasions when I did think that maybe I ought to have read one or two of the previous books before this one to get more of a feel for Cooper and Fry, as it was clear that there was some sort of history between them, as well as a way of getting to know several of the other regular characters include Cooper's fiance Liz, a crime scene officer.

Even though the story started in the midst of the bush fires it was a little bit of a slow burner for me, excuse the pun, and took a while to get going but once it did we're led down various paths until we eventually discover the truth.  

Overall it was a good read and I'll definitely read another book by Stephen Booth in the future, and if I ever clear my reading piles then I'd definitely consider going back and reading the other books in the series.  Danielle will be reviewing the next book in the series Already Dead later this week.

I'd like to thank Jo at Little Brown Book Group for sending me this book to review for my feature week.

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