I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley
in exchange for an honest review.
A fairly standard and straightforward British police procedural set in Stratford on Avon and featuring for the first time Detective Inspector Will Jackman.
A Chinese girl, Min Li, has been abducted while spending a year in England as a student, and it is her we meet close-up-and-personal as it were when the story opens with a dive into the deep end told in the 1st Person and printed in italic. It acts as something like a prologue, but there are further chapters where we return to her in her horrible rat-infested cell scattered through the book.
The bulk of the story, though, focuses on DI Jackman and is told in the 3rd Person.
This works well, but Jackman himself didn’t really interest me. He is too ordinary. Exactly what you might meet at a provincial police station in the UK, no doubt, but fictional detectives need to be a little more extraordinary in some way.
And again, the story is set in Stratford-on-Avon – Shakespeare’s Stratford. Yet the events could just as easily have taken place in any ordinary connotation-free provincial English town, for absolutely no use whatsoever is made of its being set in Stratford.
One more gripe: we all know that many American writers (though never the top-rank ones) have terrible trouble with LIE-LAY-LAIN and LAY-LAID-LAID, but British writers don’t. Or shouldn’t. Yet again and again we find ourselves stumbling over lines like: [Alice (Jackman’s daughter)] laid flat on the floor of her study, eyes clamped together, Bach playing in the background. Alice loved Bach. Whenever she had a research problem, she laid in the dark with her music … (And “eyes clamped together“?)
But all that said, the strong female victim made a nice change and I did enjoy the story: witness the fact that I have just downloaded the author’s earlier The Truth Will Out – which I hope is better edited than this one! (You can find my review of that one HERE)