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Ted Fox reviews three new crime and thriller works.
Mary Egan Publishing
The Sound of Her Voice follows North Shore police officer Matt Buchanan as he works on a number of unpleasant cases involving missing persons, murder, rape and more. The prologue starts in August 1995 with a violent shooting in which one police officer is killed and another seriously wounded. This sets the scene for the rest of the book. Chapter one moves forward to July 2011 and a girl, Samantha Coates, missing since March 1999 and her disappearance unresolved. It is a personal issue with Matt. He was there when she went missing, and it haunts him still.
What Matt doesn’t realise is he’s a high-functioning depressive: a serious, high-risk form of depression that comes from years of coping with violent crime, dealing with it, bottling it up and moving on. It forces him into the dark places he doesn’t want to be.‘‘Blackwell’’ is a pseudonym, hardly surprising as the author draws on 10 years of police work, some of it covert. The telling of Detective Matt Buchanan’s story suggests there was a need on the part of the author to exorcise his own demons.
While in places the book reads a little like a page from the police procedural manual, it is an interesting story nonetheless.
Lynda La Plante
Zaffre/Allan & Unwin
This is the 1970s story of the young, newly qualified Detective Constable Jane Tennison, by the creator of the 1990s television series Prime Suspect starring (Dame) Helen Mirren. Lynda La Plante had nothing to do with the more recent ITV series and was in fact barred from the set.
Good Friday is the date of the annual formal CID dinner, due to take place at St Ermin’s Hotel. Hundreds of detectives and their wives will be there. It’s the perfect target for the then-active IRA. Tennison plans to join the Flying Squad, a misogynist bunch investigating armed robberies across London. However, she’s offered a position on the less prestigious ‘‘Dip Squad’’, targeting pickpockets.
On the way to court one morning, and passing through Covent Garden underground station, Tennison is caught up in a bomb blast that leaves several people dead or injured. Her photograph appears in the newspapers and shows Tennison helping at the scene, putting her and her family at risk of IRA retaliation.
Later when arriving for the Good Friday evening, Tennison recognises the parking attendant as the bomber from Covent Garden, setting the scene for a story of twists and turns.
New York immigration lawyer Paul Reeves is at an auction with his neighbour, Jennifer Mehraz, the attractive wife of an Iranian-American financier-lawyer, when she is suddenly whisked away by a man who turns out to be a long-lost lover. Reeves wants to figure out who he is, as does Jennifer’s possessive husband.
His aim, to make this mortifying intrusion into his marriage vanish.
A brutal noir story of money, power, sex and possession.
Ted Fox is an online marketing and social media consultant.