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07 September 2013

Lynda La Plante: Backlash

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Enjoyable UK Police Procedural
This is the first book I have read by Lynda La Plante in the DCI Anna Curtis series. It starts pretty slowly and gets bogged down in police procedures and infighting among the senior police. But if you can hang on past halfway the book takes on a pace of its own and is pretty enjoyable.

The case starts of almost accidentally when a van is stopped because it is being driven erratically and when searching the van the police find a body of a young girl in a black plastic bag. At his first interview the driver, Henry Oates, admits to the killing but also brags and names others that he has killed. One of those named is teenager Rebekka Jordan, whose disappearance Detective Chief Superintendent James Langton has been investigating for over 5 years. Langton is recovering from painful knee surgery and asks Detective Chief Inspector Anna Travis to work that part of the case for him.

The next day Oates retracts his admissions and it is up to the murder squad to build up a case against him and find out more about the other missing females. What follows is a tale of very detailed professional detective work as the police team, especially DCI Travers, follow the clues which lead them to an even more evil scenario. The tensions within the team, especially with the ever present Langford following and dominating their actions from his sickbed, provide the flesh on the bones of the story.

All in all I enjoyed the book but felt that it was overly detailed in police procedures. I liked the book (that's what 4 stars means) but didn't love it. It didn't have the style, vigour and the environmental and cultural background of other top UK police series such as Inspector Grace (Peter James), Inspector Banks (Peter Robinson) and the very funny Macrae and Steele (Stuart Macbride).

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