I really like this author and this series, and while I enjoyed the others in the series, I think in this one, Donovan really hit his stride. Instead of featuring DCI David Jones, it features his Sergeant, Detective Sergeant Phillip Cryer. Cryer is recovering from a fall through a rotted roof in a previous book, at home on forced medical leave, nothing to do and is bored out of his gourd, when the top cheese Knightly, comes to visit, and offers him a chance to use his rather spectacular IT skills and his eidetic memory (shades of Criminal Minds) by going undercover with the British equivalent of the FBI in London, the NCA (National Crime Agency) to ferret out the dirty cop who has been operating out of that agency, and has caused the death of one of its officers. Although Cryer is not cleared for street duty, he can sit at a desk and review files and do some serious IT snooping.
One reason I liked this book more than the others is because Cryer is a lot more interesting than DCI Jones. Jones is an older fart, dour and particular, with a tragic past. For me, this does not make him interesting, only makes him dour and sour. Maybe that is because I am on the downward slope of Elderly, and by this time, everybody has a tragedy in their past and I am, like, get over it and get on with it, because there are only so many miles of the tarmac left in front of us and I don’t intend to spend those miles weeping or feeling sorry for you.
Written in the first person, Cryer is funny, genial, and intelligent, all excellent qualities in a male, I always think. The plot is good, the mystery gripping, and……. sound the trumpets!!! … I actually guessed correctly on the who dunnit, but not because it was too simplistic but because I am getting better at this, and that is my story and I am sticking to it.
My only pissy complaint is that there are a ton a references in the book to the previous novels in the series, without much in the way of explanations. Without those constant references, this is an excellent stand-alone, but the references make the reader feel like you do when you get dragged along by your Significant Other to a dinner attended by his/her work colleagues and their S.O.s, where all the conversation is about people and situations you don’t know, so you sit there with one of those smiles you hope comes across as pleasant pasted on your face, wishing secretly you were home in your sweats which double as your jammies, reading and drinking something cozy, while everyone is laughing at the 27th anecdote about Harvey in Accounting.
The problem for me is that I DON’T have an eidetic memory, nor, frankly, much of a memory at all, which I attribute to my hippy days when I left brain cells in the bottom of various bottles and herbitory products, and although I read all those previous books in the series, I have only a foggy recollection of them, which the references did little to improve.
So anyway, loved the book, and frankly am hoping that DS Cryer plays a more prominent role in future volumes, and maybe that DCI Jones will cheer up a bit.