By James Henry
A body on an embankment. A blast at a farmhouse. A burden on Colchester CID - the second Essex-based thriller from the bestselling author of Blackwater and First Frost
July 1983, Essex. Fox Farm is, thanks to two corpses, neither picturesque nor peaceful. The body in its kitchen belongs to eminent historian Christopher Cliff, who has taken his own life with an antique shotgun. The second, found on the property boundary, remains unidentified.
DI Nick Lowry's summer is neither sleepy nor serene. And the two deaths are just the half of it. The fact County Chief Merrydown was a college friend of Cliff's means Lowry is now, in turn, under scrutiny from his severely stressed and singularly unsympathetic boss, Sparks.
To catalyze his investigation, Lowry enlists the services of DC Daniel Kenton and WPC Jane Gabriel. Gabriel needs direction, if she is to begin a career as a detective. While Kenton, who appears solely focused on beginning a relationship with Gabriel, needs distraction.
Both the heat and the investigation soon intensify. The team find themselves interrogating enigmatic neighbors, antiques merchants, jilted lovers and wronged relatives; all the while negotiating the caprices of Sparks - whose attitudes remain as dated as Fox Farm's antiques.
Only when they fully open their eyes and minds will they begin to unpick a web of rural rituals, dodgy dealings and fragmented families - and uncover not just one murder, but two.
James Henry is the pen name for James Gurbutt, who has written four prequels to R D Wingfield's popular Frost series. He works in publishing, and lives in Essex.
- Other details
- Publication date:
26 Jul 2018
- Page count:
Vivid and compelling, with great evocation of the 1980s period. — Peter James
Taut, atmospheric. — Simon Kernick
Perfectly structured . . . a new Essex reimagined as a noir landscape. — Lawrence Osborne
The smell of the marshes permeates every page . . . This is old-style policing set in an interesting period. — Geoffrey Wansell, Daily Mail
Brilliantly engineered police procedural. — Daily Mirror
A fast-moving thriller . . . strong characters, dark humour and a terrific sense of place. I was totally absorbed. — Elly Griffiths