- File Size: 3864 KB
- Print Length: 338 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1911153773
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: NineStar Press (January 10, 2016)
- Publication Date: January 10, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01AFP5EGY
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,259,491 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$13.99|
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It's a Sin (The Summerskill and Lyon Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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up, but I had no idea what they were talking about.
Obviously Clair believes Dave has done nothing improper, offering that he stay her partner. But, what of Simon? Simon's dad? Phil? Mickey? What did ANYONE DO? SIMON lied about something. Many things. Clair interviewed him. At lengh. The third-person narrative particulaly confusing at this point, each saying something like, "Clair was confused... but was not. Had she been wrong about Simon? About Phil? About particle physics? She had to admit, or agree, or disagree that... She didn't, or did, or always had... Or, never had known... anything" (And, ENOUGH WITH THE ELIPSES! The constant "..."). Much information flowed at the... end. BUT WHAT DOE IT All.. MEAN? I will, later today re-read the last 50 pages. Right now I am Clueless! Can anyone help? Explain it all to me? I care. This is a good book. But what does it's supposed conclusion MEAN? Who killed everyone? Anyone? Can anyone help me?
Okay, it's later today. I re-read the last 50 pages. As far as I can tell, Simon's father did have muscle on the street, but only for info-gathering and intimidation. Apparently THE ENTIRE STORY comes down to the ASTONISHINGLY uninteresting distinction between whether Jonathan's death was a result of murder or... manslaughter. Or bot. On Simon and Phil's part. An unknowingly combined... effort. Apparently Simon roughed up Jonathan... then sent him on his way, alive but injured. Jonathan, disoriented, not drunk, ran into a furious Phil, who... ALSO roughed him up, killing him unintentionally, or ALSO killing him unintentionally.. So, did "Simon's roughing Jonathan up"... later cause Phil's "roughing up of Jonathan"... to unintentionally kill him? Neither man, then, INTENDING to kill anyone... did. According to the constant ellipsis... Clair summed up that was for the court to decide. She also thought. "I think I'll now have a drink with my new gay sergeant who is... going to be staying on." Oh, dear.
STILL deeply unsatisfactory. Neither Simon or Phil, or BOTH Simon and Phil, killed Jonathan. Not murder (as often happens in "murder mysteries"), but... a boo-boo. Great. I very much like the author's writing, if I can ever find another example of it, he writes each book, apparently, under a different name... But, WHOEVER YOU ARE, PLEASE, NO MORE ELIPSIS! And, use your own damned name. It's hard ENOUGH to find good writers without having to sift through various nom de plumes to FIND them!
Don’t worry, this is not the only reason this story starts off on all the right feet. Yeah, that’s right, all the feet. A newly promoted Detective Inspector, Claire Summerskill, is paired with a newly transferred from Redditch Sergeant, Dave Lyon. Even from the brief glimpses of each of their personalities, it was easy to see that this was going to be an examination of two professionals trying to get to know each other, as well as working their first case together, and how that would impact their lives, at work and at home. I bought the whole set of matching tumblers without seeing more than the first one plucked from the happy meal that is this book.
Intelligent, anti-stereotype, humorous, heartbreaking, surprising, quiet, unapologetic, showing the imperfections of the characters, the circumstances they find themselves in, and the decisions they sometimes make in attempts to deal with it all. If this is how Steve Burford writes, and the quality of the work published by NineStar, this is not my last book I’ll be reading by this author, or probably this publisher.
This is a modern story without being shouty and obvious about it. These characters are living in contemporary times so they’re comfortable in it, they feel no need to make declarations outside of what would normally occur during conversation or self-reflection. They don’t outwardly express every thought, and the ones they do express are sometimes brilliant and sometimes not even a little bit. Realistic. Not just as individuals but as a community. And how they all function amidst the dysfunction that surrounds them. The hate that some human beings harbor, and act upon, for each other. Love, and how complicated it can be, whether in daily life or in the actions one takes in trying to protect it, or process the anger they feel at failing to do so. And everything in between.
~ * ~ ”I’m saying…,” Dave ground to a halt, gathered his thoughts and started again. “What I’m saying, what I’m asking, is why was I offered this post here?”
Claire blinked, caught out by the apparent change of direction. “You didn’t… ? I mean… it’s promotion. The post became available.”
“And I’m gay and you had a case of happy slapping, apparently directed at the gay community, so enter Sergeant Pink in a nice bit of low profile, community-friendly work. Except a significant section of your station isn’t quite ready to ‘embrace the rainbow’, is it, and to make matters worse things have all suddenly got a lot heavier, and sexuality’s being shoved down everyone’s throat. And not in a fun way.” ~ * ~
There are so many things going on and being demonstrated in this exchange. This author is fantastic with dialogue, giving it life, making it realistic, keeping it moving. This also exemplifies the author’s approach to society’s changes and the experiences of many people within it, including a gay copper and everything he is forced to navigate, especially in a small town police station. Claire sees the world as he does in many ways, but she hasn’t experienced it like he has, and vice versa. That’s probably the most interesting thing about this story, watching these two adjust to one another, learning about each other, how to read one another, in both professional and personal circumstances.
This passage also shows my one niggle with this author’s writing: nearly always using the past tense, stunting the forward movement in the action surrounding the dialogue. Instead of –Dave ground to a halt, gathered his thoughts and started again.-, it could be something like – Dave ground to a halt, gathering his thoughts and starting again. Changing at least one of those words from ‘-ed’ to ‘-ing’ would bring it more in line with the urgent, right now feeling of the conversation, making it more ‘present’ instead of ‘just happened’. I’m quite certain there are better, more technically accurate ways of explaining that but I’m not an English prof. I’m sure you get my drift.
Dave and Claire aren’t the only ones making for rich scenes and an all-consuming murder mystery. Their respective partners help make the romantic relationships of Dave and Claire one of the important branches of this story without making them front and center. Instead, Claire’s marriage and Dave’s approximately year-long partnership reflect the effects of being in a committed relationship with a copper, as well as how the relationships themselves affect being a copper. These characters also buck the stereotypes, especially as how they’re usually portrayed in literature.
Other family members, some on page and some not, friends, those hurt by crimes committed against them, and those who commit them, fellow coppers, pub patrons, bosses, professors and more, they all play their roles, and all are necessary to advancing the plots.
The murder mystery itself is rather well done. Not only was I kept guessing Dave and Claire were, too. I wasn’t privy to information they didn’t have, making my experience of their working to solve the crimes quite visceral. As good as the mystery is, though, this is a story about exploration, how people can surprise you, how complicated human beings are, while at the same time being very basic when it comes to the ferocity of emotions and what they can make someone do.
This story is humorous, blunt, serious, exhibiting nearly perfect prose, with even the wobbly bits endearing themselves to me. The most spectacular inclusion is just that, inclusion. Not one character is treated as a stereotype, all of them permitted to be who they are, even the one I was sure couldn’t begin to redeem himself, or the one who appeared in no need of redemption but made it obvious they probably would.
Well done, Steve Burford. You’ve gained a loyal reader in me. I have one simple request: please bring me more of Dave and Claire and the people of Worcester, and Malvern, as is hinted by the subtitle of this book. Thank you!
*Originally reviewed on Prism Book Alliance®
A newly promoted Detective Inspector, Claire Summerskill, is paired with a newly transferred from Redditch Sergeant, Dave Lyon. On their first day together they get a murder case: Jonathan Alan Wilson, a well to do gay man, has been murdered near a canal that is near two gay venues. As Detectives investigate the case, their relationships between them and the ones they love come to the surface. Married life, family, and the hardships of job related stress are revealed as the detectives crack the multiple clues they have to decipher together. Even within the Worcester Foregute street Police Department there are rivalries and friction because Mr. Lyon is gay.
Narrated from the third person point of view, the book is Intelligent, anti-stereotype, humorous, heartbreaking, surprising, quiet, unapologetic, showing the imperfections of the characters, the circumstances they find themselves in, and the decisions they sometimes make in attempts to deal with it all. the characters come out of the page and grab you. The twists and turns of the plot will hook you from page one. I could not put it down! I read it all at once and would certainly recommend the book to anyone who likes a modern day mystery.