After You Die by Eva Dolan
The previous summer Dawn Prentice had logged a number of calls detailing the harassment she and her severely disabled teenage daughter were undergoing. Now she is dead – stabbed to death whilst Holly Prentice has been left to starve upstairs. Is it genuinely a crime for the Peterborough Hate crimes Unit? Can Zigic and Ferreira unpick the truth about mother and daughter, and bring their killer to justice?
First Impressions: The third book in the series and another cracking read from page one.
Highlights: It became clear to me very early on that Ferreira has a brilliant interview technique. She is precise with her questioning and nothing passes her by when she is listening to Zigic’s questioning. She pins down the nuance of every comment a witness or suspect makes. She’s not a cliche of ‘good-cop-bad-cop-Jekyll-and-Hyde’ either. Even when she’s sympathetic to the person she’s interviewing, she’s hardly being warm or compassionate; you still feel her steel. Would I trust her if being interviewed? Absolutely. In the previous books, I liked both Zigic and Ferreira equally – maybe even Zigic a bit more as it would be hard not to have a little crush on him – but now I think Ferreira takes the prize as my favourite of the two. Zigic may need a bit more grit going forward.
Another thing I really liked about this novel was the fact that it shows that the Hate Crimes Unit deals with stuff much wider than race crimes, specifically towards Eastern Europeans. As with the previous novels in the series, it feels like a properly functioning department with the everyday mundane calls and witness statements lurking in the background. This is explicitly seen with Ferreira’s recalling of her previous contact with Dawn Prentice. I wouldn’t say there was disinterest but it was oh so procedurally dry. I love the way Eva Dolan details this stuff. Perhaps the aficionados need a short story collection describing a week in the life of the Hate Crimes Unit!
If I was an editor: Unfortunately if I had to think of a way to improve the story I’d have to get picky and mention something ludicrously unimportant, like disliking a minor character’s name (untrue). Maybe including a bit more detail about the fostering situation could create a bit more of a sinister undertone – are they just doing it for money? what are their stories and who do we believe? However, it is a brilliantly streamlined story and I’m sure Eva Dolan had to fight the urge to include all the interesting deviations she brainstormed!
Overall: I wonder, what will the next crime be? How far does their remit extend I wonder?
Tell No Tales by Eva Dolan
The car that ploughs into the bus stop early one morning leaves a trail of death and destruction behind it. DS Ferreira and DI Zigic are called in from the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit to handle the hit-and-run, but with another major case on their hands, one with disturbing Neo-Nazi overtones, they are relieved when there seems to be an obvious suspect but the case isn’t that simple. Ferreira believes that local politician Richard Shotton, head of a recently established right-wing party, must be involved somehow.
First Impressions: This novel launched straight into the action and intense subsequent police investigation. Love it!
Highlights: I really enjoyed the first book in the series but Tell No Tales is just brilliant in the plotting. There are no loose ends or unnecessary plot strands and it just keeps getting better each chapter! In this second novel the author is right on the money with characterisation. As much as I liked the first book in the series, for some reason I didn’t see too much distinction between Zigic (sensible and genuine family man) and Ferreira (young, loyal and brash) but in this book the characterisation was fantastic and I loved both of them (maybe Zigic a little bit more!). In the first book Hate Crime employee Wahlia just seemed a bit out of focus but this time around I got his character straight away. The plot was full of mystery and really got under the skin of immigrant Peterborough. I love Peterborough as a setting!
If I was an editor: Don’t worry editors, I have already pre-ordered book three. You mean I need to wait until January??!!
Overall: This is the sort of novel that makes me want to read more crime but Ferreira, you need to become a bit more independent of your family 🙂
Tell No Tales: 5 Stars
Long Way Home by Eva Dolan
A man is burnt alive in a suburban garden shed. DI Zigic and DS Ferreira are called in from the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit to investigate the murder. Their victim is quickly identified as a migrant worker. Zigic and Ferreira know all too well the problems that come with dealing with a community that has more reason than most not to trust the police, but when another migrant worker is attacked, tensions rapidly begin to rise as they search for their killer.
First Impressions: From the first few pages I could tell this would be an engrossing crime read. The setting in particular was well described. For a number of days I squeezed in as many pages as I could between finishing my gym workout and collecting my son from the creche!
Highlights: I found a lot to like in the start of this series. I liked the Peterborough setting and the way the different parts of the greater area were described. Perhaps Peterborough may start to get some literary related tourism? It’s also a good reminder that not all immigrants head straight to London. It’s easy to forget this. I liked the two detectives – they are an interesting mix of personalities and ethnicities – and the way they investigated the crime within their Hate Crimes unit. The author had obviously done a lot of research on the lives of migrant workers and this paid dividends as the novel was both informative and believable. I definitely learnt a few new things about migrant workers such as the renting out of garden sheds. Not the sort of business venture I’m keen to get involved in but it did make me take more notice of my neighbours’ sheds 🙂 Oh, and very importantly, the twists are good.
If I was an editor: I would say that while the first and last third of the novel required quick page turning, the middle did lag in parts which is surprising as the investigation kept moving at a reasonable pace. However, this didn’t necessarily hinder my enjoyment of the novel, and to be honest with you, as this is a bit of a belated review, my memory of the novel in hindsight doesn’t involve any lagging.
Overall: An original and believable crime novel to start a series that I can see myself comfortably working my way through.
Long Way Home: 4 Stars
Thank you to Vintage for a copy of the title to review.