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The Latch Man - John Dean

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Genre: Crime / Thriller / Author: John Dean / Hardcover / 224 Pages / Book is published 2006-06 by Robert Hale Ltd

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      24.07.2011 11:01
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      Average thriller

      ==Background:==

      I love reading, but lately I have been struggling to commit myself to what I've been reading. Is there such as thing as Readers block!!! I have started reading four books but have had to give them up because I really couldn't get into them and had to give up. So I went back to my first love the crime novel to see if I could re-discover my passion for reading.

      ==About the author:==

      John Dean has been a successful journalist for a quarter of a century picking up countless awards during this time. He has also written eight crime novels and both Children's books and a history of Darlington Railway Centre and Museum.

      ==Synopsis of the book:==

      Detective John Blizzard and Sergeant Colley are called upon to investigate a series of burglaries in and around the town of Hafton. The crimes have a certain 'old fashioned' quality, professionally done with no violence without leaving a trace of evidence. The only way the Detectives know they are dealing with the same person is when the criminal has finishes in the property he leaves the door on the latch, hence his nickname with the press 'The Latch Man'.

      Blizzard decides to take a more hands on approach when an elderly lady Doris Hornsby reports an intruder while she was trying to sleep. He steals nothing and when she sees him he bows respectfully at her and leaves empty handed. Blizzard is very interested because many years before is ladies first husband was the main criminals in the area and before he was shot and killed and one who controlled most of the crime in the 1960's within this area.

      Is it a coincidence that this ladies property was selected or is it something from those days when her husband controlled the City? With the local people feeling increasingly uneasy with the lack of progress in catching this criminal DCI Blizzard and his team must go back in time and find out more about Doris Hornby's and her husbands previous life to try and find the reasons behind these crimes.

      ==My thoughts on the novel:==

      I am very relieved!! I managed to not only read this crime story but I also managed to enjoy it as well. For me this was a basically a well-written book which benefited from excellent really honest and believable lead characters within it. I think that is the main reason for my enjoyment as in truth I found the way the story developed quite disappointing and confusing.

      Admittedly I am not a new reader to John Dean's books about a year ago I read 'The Vengeance Man'. This is where I first came across the Detectives Blizzard and Colley and I must admit I thought it was an excellent story and really enjoyed everything about it. By contrast this was not nearly as good because I found the story confusing and although well thought out I lost track at times who was who and how they linked in with the original crime
      I discovered this novel at the Charity shop and choose it really because I thought so much of the previous one I had read from the author, plus this one only cost me a £1, which is a great price. Although I thought the title was a good one and I was intrigued by not only it but the quite scary picture on the cover of a blurred man peering through a slightly open door.
      .
      The novel had a summary on the inside cover, which was a good size. It was two good paragraphs long plus one sentence. I liked the concept behind it, of these burglaries and the past somehow influencing what was happening now. It did not mention murder but for me it certainly suggested that there was far more behind these crimes than met the eye and this was definitely the case.

      The story began as the previous one did in quite a usual way. It introduced the two main characters sitting in the Police Station discussing what their current caseload was. It was a slow start to be honest but I found learning about these Detectives and the way they worked together and their relationship interesting. Although for me there is no substitute for investigating a crime as this allows both the reader and the Detective to start thinking what has happened and see the crime scene.

      I became more interested as the Detectives met the wife a former big criminal from the community. As there seemed to be more possibilities and interest into how what was happening today was linked to there past. We were introduced to some of their history and a few of the family members all who needed to be investigated because of the past.

      And while I was enjoying the story there got to a point about half way through for a number of pages when we did not follow the Detectives we were simply told what they had been doing and the outcome of those investigations. This really put me off and I suppose the author was trying to summarise some of the investigation but I found it messy and told away from the story as surely it all could have been summarised like this.

      From this time on really I found the story seemed to get bigger and bigger, with more action, suspects and crime related this the original plot to investigate. It was at this point I stopped enjoying it and had to think hard about what was happening. And as it continued I started to feel confused and it just seemed to me the author could have picked any of the characters for the crimes.

      This continued into the last few chapters of the story and I found I would have believed anything I was being told. Yes the conclusion did all make sense but it for me was not convincing and I felt it was made to fit the story. Although it was exciting and I had no idea who was the guilty party was so there was plenty of suspense and mystery to enjoy.

      What the story lacked was to a certain degree made up for by the two Detectives interaction. I really enjoyed the banter between them, but not only that the way the interacted with all the characters within the story. This was a constant feature of the story and I liked and found their conversations amusing. But there was more to them than their Police work and this was always enjoyable to learn about their private lives, as there was always something to think about.

      I found both Blizzard and Colley to me well thought out characters. It clearly showed that the author had put a lot of thought and research into them. I think the reason I liked them was I found them very easy to relate to. They were hard working intelligent men who used wit and sarcasm to help them through the day. With very diverse private lives but basically two men who got on well with each other in both their business and private lives. And while I learnt a lot about them I did not feel at the same time the author developed the suspects enough and as such I could virtually believe anything about them as I did not really known their personalities.

      The length of the story was for me too short as it failed to explain for me the story the whole way through. Yes there were times when the story was interesting and flowed but at others it seemed rushed as you were only given the outcome of suspects being interviewed. I would have preferred a consistent approach as I felt the story became lost and confused at times. Although I was pleased at least there was an epilogue, which allowed the reader to find out what happened a few months down the line to some of the key characters within the story.


      ==Conclusion:==

      While I enjoyed this crime story I do not think this was as good as 'The Vengeance Man'. My reason for saying this is I found this story confusing and I struggled to remember who was linked with whom and what they had done in the past. However on the positive side I really enjoyed the interaction between the two lead Detectives and the way they approach their work.

      ==Other information:==

      Hardback version
      Pages: 224
      Price: £14.13
      Publisher: Robert Hale Ltd
      ISBN-10: 0709080662
      ISBN-13: 978-0709080664
      Year Published: 2006
      About the author: www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/d/john-dean

      Thanks for reading my review.

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

      © CPTDANIELS July 2011

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