What’s the plot?
A dead body has been left in a small park in the middle of the night. The police find CCTV footage of the perpetrator dressed as a clown dumping it and the race is on to find out who the victim was, who the murderer is and what is his plan.
Where is it set?
It is set in central Manchester and it most of the place names and street names are true to life. Including the huge inflatable Santa on the Town Hall Clock….sadly.
Who is the main character?
DCI Tom Caton. Unusual in that he is the first fictional police protagonist who doesn’t have any major hang-ups, or a maverick streak that sees him put himself above his superiors. He doesn’t drink heavily, he has lots of friends, he looks after his flat and he goes to the gym. We even get to know him as Tom!!
How well is it written?
I’d give it 8/10 for the quality of writing. Occasionally I got lost with who was speaking (not enough “he said, she said” for example) and there were quite a few typos that detracted from the flow of the prose. Also, there were a couple of passages that seemed to have been written for writing’s sake and would have benefitted from a conscientious editor with a big red pencil to hand. For example, there is a description of a gang-fight that should have been re-written because the thrill of it was lost as the prose got bogged down.
My overall impression?
A good plot, just about believable in the sense that the characters acted in character all the time and they didn’t do anything randomly out of the ordinary. But it was a little bit predictable and the ending didn’t come as any surprise, but it was a decent enough bedtime read so worth the £1 or so it cost me from Amazon.
Thinking about it, I could see this being made into a TV drama. You know how sometimes when shows are re-written from the book and a lot is lost because the narrative is too complex, well this book is practically there already. The sub-plots are substantial enough to be a distraction but not too complicated to confuse things. There is a side story about Caton’s love-life which is tidy enough, so yes, I could definitely see this as a TV drama.
Will I read the next in the series?
Well I’ve downloaded it already so I’ll probably get around to it sometime, but I want to read something with a little bit more substance to it first.
Would I recommend it to my friends?
I think it would be interesting to people from Manchester if only for the fact that they can identify the settings and the chase routes etc, but for non-Mancunians it could prove to be a bit lightweight. The plot and characters are a little one dimensional but if you like police procedurals with likeable but unchallenging characters then this if for you.