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A few weeks ago I read my first novel by this author, which I really enjoyed so I was keen to try another as soon as I could to see how it compared. Ideally I was looking for the first book in the Detective Inspector Mariner series but the shop only had the last three in the series so I had to be content with the oldest of these, which was written in 2006.
==About the author:==
Chris Collett up to a few weeks ago was a new author to me, despite having already written five novels. She was born in East Anglia and all her books so far have been part of the DI Mariner series. Before turning her attention to writing she was a teacher of Children with Learning Disabilities.
==Synopsis of the book:==
DI Tom Mariner life has entered a quiet and settled period but changes and challenges are always on the horizon for this focused and single-minded man. He lives with his girlfriend Anna who is trying to persuade him that they should move away from the busy life in Birmingham out to the country and start a family. Tom still needs to be convinced by this but Anna is hopeful she can talk him round and give them both a fresh start.
However following an explosion at the Church he and Anna are attending for a Christmas service life takes another very unexpected turn. Neither are hurt but the local press praises Tom for his actions in supporting injured people in the aftermath of the incident. Terrorism is immediately suspected but Tom is concerned that he may have been the target as he receives a note a few days later advising him next time he won't be so lucky.
While a few days later a meeting with an old friend DI Flynn draws him into an unofficial investigation that involved the death of MP Sir Geoffrey Ryland, his wife Diane and their driver. All the papers have reported this being a drug related murder and the MP and his wife where the unlucky to be there when it happened. This is because the driver has a history of involvement with crime and a small amount of drugs where found in the boot of the car. However when Special Branch looked at the MP's personal effects they found pictures of Mariner as a child, this Flynn gives to him but neither man can understand why he had them.
==My thoughts on this novel:==
With this being the second in the series that I have read featuring DI Mariner I had a fair impression about what I would expect from it. I found it a very well thought out and a thriller that had some excellent and very unexpected twists and turns to enjoy. In all honesty while I enjoyed it all the way through I do think the other one I read 'Blood Money' was better. This may be because the writer's style and her characters where new to me then and by this second book I was more familiar with both.
However I think it also in part to do with my own expectations. The first book I thought was fabulous and it was such a revelation for me to enjoy the first book from an author so much. So this time round I expected similar if not better, but for me it was only a very good read. This was because I did not find the story as good as the previous one.
The first thing I liked about this Detective story was the books title. I thought 'Written in Blood' sounded very interesting while at the same time not giving much away about the story. So I turned the book over to read the two-paragraph summary about it. Despite being only two paragraphs it was a fair length and really did justice and aroused my interest in it.
Immediately the story began I was involved and enjoying it. I liked the concept of this mysterious explosion and DI Mariner's concern that someone was out to get him. Although at this point there was nothing for him or his team to investigate and the emphasis switched to his personal life, which I really find fascinating, as it seems so unusual and different from the norm. This mystery as to why this dead MP would have pictures of Mariner when he had never met him was fascinating.
The answer to this was quite obvious after a short time but I did struggle to believe and except the rationale behind it. Although I could understand his interest in finding the truth behind Sir Geoffrey Ryland death as it appeared the case had not been investigated properly as the Police made an assumption about it on limited but obvious information.
I enjoyed the way the Mariner's unofficial investigation was going. It was good to see him use all his skills to try and find out the background to these killing and his efforts to find out everything about the dead MP's life. Although I did wonder why no-one seemed to really miss him when he was spending time in London especially his partner Anna who did not appear unduly concerned by his disappearances.
As things developed I really did not have a clue who was responsible for the murders and the suspects increased as Mariner's dug deeper into the past. Bringing up potential killers some of whom would be eliminated as more information was discovered. It was full of excitement and suspense as you always wondered if the Detective had missed or overlooked something important.
The pace of the story increased as it developed, with an exciting, tense and well thought out conclusion to it. Up to just a few pages from the end the answers still where not obvious and I liked the way the author used mystery throughout the story, always making you think and wondering about the significance of what was happening.
I find the main character Tom Mariner a very likeable and well-researched man. He is very easy to relate to and I like the way he works on his cases. The only thing I found odd was the way he found it impossible to talk to his partner Anna about anything personal and important to them and their relationship. Typical man you may say but for a character who was deep and thoughtful I found it a little strange.
It was a Detective story that demonstrated the value and need for Team working something that DI Mariner sometimes finds difficult especially when the issues involved in the case are personal to him. He for me is the type of character you are always interested in as he has a good personality and lots of unexpected things happen in his life to him and those he cares about.
What really appeals to me about not only Mariner but also his partner Anna and his DC Tony Knox was the time and trouble the author takes sharing with the reader about their personal lives. My only concern with this is at times I find what is happening to them away from the mystery is more interesting than the mystery itself. I think the author will need to be careful in future books not to let this happen, as I found myself intrigued at times and desperate to know more about what was happening in DC Knox's private life following the explosion and his relationship with Selina.
I really enjoyed the author's attractive and easy to read writing style. For me she allows you to think for yourself about what and why things are happening and what a solution is but if you choose to have a lighter read she will guide you through the story but the answers in either case will not be obvious. In a story that will only once its been told make sense and seem logical.
The novels length was spot on for me as the pace and excitement increasing as the investigation progressed. You could argue the concluding chapter could have been lengthened as a lot happened in a short period of time but I felt the story had built to this crescendo and it worked for me.
I would certainly recommend both this book and this series of books as very good Detective novels. For me this was not quite as good as the previous story but still I enjoyed it and was pleased I had read it. The author tells an intriguing story which is full of surprises so that you never know what will happen next to the main characters within the story. I particularly like her emphasise on the characters personal lives and I found I really looked forward to this aspect within the story.
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Year of Publication: 2006
About the author: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/c/chris-collett/
Thanks for reading.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
© CPTDANIELS September 2011.