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Crack Down: A Kate Brannigan Mystery - V. L. McDermid

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Genre: Crime / Thriller / Author: V. L. McDermid / Paperback / 248 Pages / Book is published 2006-09 by Bywater Books

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      02.05.2009 10:04
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      ==Background:==

      I have only very recently started reading novels by this crime writer after a long break from her work. Many years ago I read 'Killing the shadows' then a few weeks ago I re-newed my acquaintance with her writing with 'Final edition'. So I was keen to try another one of her books and when I saw this one on sale at half price at my local bookshop I thought I must purchase it.

      ==About the author:==

      Val McDermid was born in Scotland in 1955. Like many successful writers her grounding was 16 years in journalism, before moving into writing books full time. So far she has writing 27 novels, five in the Lindsay Gordon series, six in the Kate Brannigan, and a further five in the Tony Hill/ Carol Jordan series.

      ==Synopsis of the novel:==

      Kate Brannigan and her boyfriend Richard are doing some Private Investigation work on a car fraud scam, on behalf of the local Manchester firm. As part of the deal they get to run around in some very flashy top of the range cars until a few days later when they are picked up again by the company.

      However, things take an awful turn for the worse when Kate solicitor Ruth rings her in the middle of the night. Richard has been arrested and charged with not only stealing the car, having a photo of a minor naked and having a very large supply of 'crack' in the boot of the car he was travelling in.

      Things couldn't get much worse or could they? It is also half term and Richard's eight-year-old son Davy is staying with them for the week. Now she must try and find any evidence she can to prove her boyfriends innocence while trying to entertain this hyper active and challenging little boy.

      ==My thoughts on this book;==

      My overall opinion was this was a good gritty crime novel. It was written in a clear and crisp way, full of suspense while at the same time it was very fast paced and I found it enthralling and very exciting, as there was always so much happening within the story.

      This book was written in 1994 and is the third in the series of Kate Brannigan novels. However, I didn't find this an important concern, as what had happened in the first two novels did not have any impact on this one. I found this refreshing as I have found with other authors will refer to what has previously happened to the character and I find that quite annoying especially when you haven't read them and you may want to at a later date.

      I must admit before even before entering the bookshop, I had decided I was looking for a novel by this author. The reason for this is I had just enjoyed reading one of her previous books, so I roughly knew what to expect or I thought I did. But then I discovered this one had a totally different lead character and I hadn't realised that when I browsed it before purchasing it.

      The book had an attractive design and a distinctive red colour background. It seemed to stand out from all the books around it and even the title sounded promising. So I picked it up and read the summary, this was again quite short but sounded very interesting both with the crime mystery and the needs of looking after a young boy that was also expressed here.

      To be honest I didn't particularly get into the book immediately. It dealt with the background into the car fraud that Kate and her boyfriend where involved in. This I found quite dull and it was only when Richard got arrested that for me the story got interesting and aroused my curiosity and interest in it.

      Indeed the story in the end was the best part of the novel for me. It had the depth that I so admire in a good crime book. By this I mean it was not just a one-dimensional investigation, other than her attempt to help Richard there was other aspects such as Child pornography, drugs and murder to be resolved.

      That on it's own would have been fantastic but the author added another human element that made the story even better the introduction of Richard's son Davy. This made all of Kate's spare time interesting as this boy caused as much trouble as his father did.

      I enjoyed the author's writing, I like the way she sets the scene and the quality and the depth of her descriptions she uses for these. The book just got better and better the deeper and longer I read into it, leading to a superb fast paced and exciting conclusion in which the answers were never in doubt just how Kate would find them.

      Although I was irritated by the similarities in character between Kate Brannigan and Lindsay Gordon from her other books. Both were very strong characters that would stop at nothing to get what they wanted and find the truth. I just thought the author could have produced a different type of character either male or female to lead such a good story.

      That said I did admire and respect Kate's determination to get justice for her boyfriend. And I liked the way she used her friends to try and get information on the case and to help her look after Davy. She was the sort of character it was easy to relate to and she was fighting back when her world was crashing all round her.
      I particularly enjoyed the quality of the conversations that involved her and her attempts to find the truth through them.

      The support characters in the novel were all well described, interesting and rich in their diversity. My favourite was Davy who was a typical eight-year-old boy causing mischief wherever he went and I always wondered what Kate was going to have to deal with next from him. He was very likeable and added at times a more fun side to the story, but also a very serious side involving drugs.

      I did have a complaint at the end of the novel. The author did not update us on what happened to Wayne and Daniel. I would really like to know that!!! And in retrospect I did also consider that Kate had too an easy ride in finding the truth, whatever she did seemed to pay some dividend and I know life is not like that! It's good to see in a crime novel the lead character struggle usually against the odds to get a result and in this story it didn't feel like that to me.

      ==Conclusion:==

      I thought this was an excellent piece of crime fiction. The author had a very good if not quite original story, but it was the variety of themes that for me made the book so entertaining and readable. I would recommend this to all fans of this author and those who enjoy a great crime novel. There was always lots happening and lots for the reader to think about as a result of the quality of the authors writing.


      Pages: 307
      Price: £1.69 (new at Amazon)
      Publisher: HarperCollins
      ISBN: 0-00-649008-5
      More about the author: www.valmcdermid.com
      Year: 1994

      Thank you for reading my review.

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

      @CPTDANIELS May 2009.

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