I’m always excited to meet a new fictional Detective, particularly one created by such a seasoned writer as Tony Parsons. Huge thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for an honest review – it jumped to the top of my reading pile!
What the blurb says:
Twenty years ago seven rich, privileged students became friends at their exclusive private school, Potter’s Field. Now they have started dying in the most violent way imaginable.
Detective Max Wolfe has recently arrived in the Homicide division of London’s West End Central, 27 Savile Row.
Soon he is following the bloody trail from the backstreets and bright lights of the city, to the darkest corners of the internet and all the way to the corridors of power.
As the bodies pile up, Max finds the killer’s reach getting closer to everything – and everyone – he loves.
Soon he is fighting not only for justice, but for his own life…
Meet Detective Max Wolfe; Fiercely passionate about his job during the day and single father to his five year old daughter Scout, and dog Stan, at night. This is an unflinching crime story – gritty and gory in equal measure so the glimpses Parsons gives us of Wolfe’s home life provide some necessary light relief. That’s not to say his home life is completely hunky dory though of course; we soon realise that the absence of Scout’s mother provides its own heartache for the father/daughter duo: ‘There was a hole in my daughter’s life and no matter how much I loved her, no matter how hard I tried, I would never be able to fill it’.
The story is perfectly paced and it completely hooked me in. As in all good crime novels, I found myself reading quicker and holding my breath at certain points. As a regular reader of the Crime/Thriller genre, I was also intrigued by some really interesting ‘facts’ that I’ve never read elsewhere: ‘I punched him in the heart. One punch. Right hand. Full force. They don’t do it in the movies. But the heart is the very worst place to be hit hard. You really don’t want to get hit in the heart’. I know that Tony Parsons boxes in his spare time and his knowledge of the field is clear to see in this novel.
I was also fascinated by the details of The Black Museum: ‘The Black Museum contains every murder weapon you can imagine and plenty more that you can’t. More than a hundred years’ worth of explosives, firearms and poison. An every item in there has seen active service’. The author’s note at the end of the novel confirms that this place exists – which just makes it even more interesting!
Wolfe is a great character – a slight maverick, he certainly isn’t afraid to take risks in his work, but his devotion to his family would endear him to even the harshest reader. I also particularly liked Whitestone – which of course I would, having read this: “Whitestone, tiny woman that she was, perched on his back, cuffing him and punctuating his rights by bouncing his face against the ground. ‘You are under arrest’. Smash. ‘You do not have to say anything’. Smash.”
My only niggle with the novel is the way it starts, almost by giving away the end. Parsons is certainly not the only author to write crime this way but it just isn’t my preference. That’s not to say it ruined the story for me. There were plenty of twists and turns in the narrative and I just love the way all the loose ends are tied up by the end. I just think the scene that’s revealed at the beginning could more effectively have been revealed at the end.
All in all a cracking good read. It’s also been announced as one of Richard and Judy’s Spring book club picks – well deserved. I can’t wait for the next one.
Get it on kindle now for only £2.85: The Murder Bag
Or paperback for only £3: The Murder Bag