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Blood on the Tongue - Stephen Booth

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Genre: Crime / Thriller / Author: Stephen Booth / Edition: New edition / Paperback / 400 Pages / Book is published 2003-04-07 by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

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      31.12.2011 10:51
      Very helpful



      Excellent thriller


      I have to be honest and say I really do not know where I got this book. I was browsing my bookshelves and I noticed it and knew that I had not read it but could not remember ever purchasing it. I assume it was a Car Boot sale so I was curious to say the least if it had been an inspired choice or not.

      ==About the author:==

      Stephen Booth was born in Burnley in 1952. After a quarter of a century in Journalism he gave up to become a writer. He writes Detective novels and so far he has written 10 stories in the Ben Cooper and Diane Fry series. With 'Blood on the Tongue' being the third novel having been written in 2002.

      ==Synopsis of the book:==

      The body of a young woman is discovered after the first snows of the winter in the Peak District. And at first the Police are not sure if this is a suspicious death or not as she could have just died in the snowstorm in this isolated place. Meanwhile in another spot close by, a young mans body is found frozen in the snow, he was well dressed and he looked an unlikely candidate to commit suicide.

      The first job DS Fry and DC Cooper have to do is try and identify these deaths and find out if they whether any suspicious circumstances surrounding their deaths. Meanwhile the already stretched Police force are asked for help from an Canadian woman: Alison Morrissey who wants them to investigate her Grand fathers disappearance following the crash of the bomber he was in charge of during the War. Seemingly the only odd thing that makes the Police interested in this is a few weeks ago this lady received completely out of the blue in the post his Canadian Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross Medal and it was sent without any message with a postmark of Edendale. This disappeared with him in the crash, so is he still alive and living in this village Alison wants answers.

      ==My thoughts on this book:==

      I thought this was a very good Detective story. It was well thought out and always fascinating to read despite being a long story (632 pages). It took me four days to read it and I found as soon as I started it I was totally engrossed in it. For me it was everything a good Detective story should be and I'm glad to say I did not have a clue what the answers where to this mystery.

      This is my first experience of the writings of Stephen Booth and to say I'm impressed with his work is an understatement. I usually find it takes me a while to get to grips with a new authors style, but I found he immediately grabbed my attention and I stayed stuck to the book until I completed it. What was also surprising to me was this didn't feel like the third in the series, it felt new and fresh and there was no mention of previous stories the two Detectives had been involved in. So I certainly do not think with this author that you have to start with the first one in the series, as I did not feel I had missed anything by starting with this one.

      The first thing that stuck me about this novel was its unusual title, which I thought was a fabulous one. As it was so open to interpretation is to what the author was alluding to by it. The other thing that stuck me was the words of praise on the cover, it is not usually something I take much notice of but it was simple and intrigued me. It read simple 'A dark star is born!'

      So I flipped the book over and read the summary of the story to see what it was all about. It was three paragraphs long and it laid the different themes that where to flow through the story. I must admit it only sounded ok to me as I am not one for going back in our past to find out the solution to an old mystery, but I got a sense from the summary that there was far more happening than this especially with the two dead bodies also being discovered.

      As soon as I started reading the story I found myself interested in it. Usually this can be the discovery of a dead body, but in this case it was learning a bit about DC Cooper and following him on his way to work. I found immediately I could relate to him and I also found it was written in a very descriptive way that made me feel I was on patrol with him and I experiencing with him the results of the first major snows in the area in a number of years.

      The story then flicked to another character and I found again the author had an amazing talent for making you feel that you where witnessing what was happening to this dieing lady. This carried on throughout the book, rich descriptions that perfectly described both scenes and personal characteristics.

      It was a well-paced story that I found really developed superbly. At no time did I come up with the right solutions, despite changing my view on several occasions as the story unfolded. It was full of both suspense and mystery and the further I read the more I needed to understand the answers to what was and had happened in it. For me it had the right balance between the investigations and the major characters home lives, which was also always interesting, without detracting from the major story itself.

      What made the story come alive for me was it was written from several different perspectives. So that you could see different slants on what was happening this was especially interesting between DS Fry and DS Cooper and allowed you to understand and see at first hand why they annoyed each other.

      The story had a wonderful conclusion that really made sense in the context of what had already happened. It was one that really made me think about why things had happened and how these had consequences on several of those in the story. I thought this complex answer totally did justice to the quality of the story that preceded it. And it was a conclusion that answered all my questions and left everything rounded off superbly.

      The only really minor annoyance I had was I did feel one of the characters acted in a very odd way towards the end of the story. Unfortunately I can say no more as I do not wish to give anything away and ruin anybodies enjoyment. I just found it odd, unusual and a bit out of character and I thought the author had it wrong.

      I enjoyed this story so much because to my mind it was a very complete story. As not only was it a thriller but it also dealt with changing relationships both private and professional and the problems behind the scenes at the Police station. It even had humour within it and one character in particular that made me smile the way he was depicted and the way he kept re-enforcing this.

      The two most important characters are DS Diana Fry and DC Ben Cooper. The story follows these characters and shares their views, thought and opinions on what is happening to them and all around them. I really enjoyed their contrasting views on life and I thought this really added spice, as there was a really complex and unusual chemistry between them, which I was always intrigued by. At times I wasn't sure it they where going to fight each other or kiss each other.

      Although it would be too simplistic to say they were the only characters. As the author really brought in a marvellous variety of characters to the story. These all seemed well researched and I always got the impression because of the excellent writing there was more behind what they weren't saying rather than what they where saying. It added a real sense of mystery and I found I really wanted to know more about the Lukasz the Polish family who seemed at the centre of everything.

      Despite being a long story I did think to do this always fascinating story justice you needed this length. Particularly when it was so full of unexpected twists and turns never failed to surprise and impress me. I found the story very easy to follow because it was broken up into manageable chapters and when the scenes changed mid chapter it was clearly signposted where the story was going and who we where following.


      For me this was an excellent Detective story. It was written to a very high standard, full of wonderful descriptions of both the scenes and the characters. I found this a treat to read and I will definitely be looking to purchase another book from this author in the near future and this time I hope I will know where it has come from! This is a crime thriller with everything and an engrossing read.

      ==Other Information:==

      Pages: 632
      Price: £3.99
      Publisher: Harper
      ISBN-10: 000713066X
      ISBN-13: 978 000796618
      About the author: www.stephen-booth.com
      Year of Publication: 2002

      Thanks for reading my review.

      This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.

      © CPTDANIELS December 2011.


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