The charred body of an enigmatic policeman – currently the subject of an internal investigation – is found in the burnt-out shell of his car on the Southend sea front.
Meanwhile, a vulnerable young woman, fresh out of the care system, is trying to discover the truth behind the sudden death of her best friend.
As DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell from the Essex Police Major Investigation Team are brought in to solve the mystery of their colleague’s death, dark, dangerous secrets begin to surface. Can they solve both cases, before it’s too late? Mark Hardie’s stylish and gripping debut introduces a brilliant new detective duo to the world of crime fiction, weaving together two suspenseful stories that end in a breath-taking finale.
What I Thought:
A good crime novel is always a winner with me, and – although I’ve nothing against them – many, many crime novels out there are focused on the mean streets of the capital, so it’s refreshing to meet a new police force – in this case, Essex Police.
As a debut novel, Burned and Broken is complex, touching on many controversial topics, including the care system and children’s homes, insurance fraud and police officers operating outside the rules. Given that they are such big topics, they are handled well, and mesh together to form an exciting and fast-paced plot.
This debut novel introduces the double act of DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell and while they are partners, they both have things they are keeping back. Hopefully these things will come out in the open in future novels, and their relationship will be more fully explored.
When the case is fully resolved, it’s tinged with sadness, rather than pleasure that it has been all wrapped up nicely. There’s plenty to think about once the book is closed and, hopefully reflect on in future books in the series (are my hints subtle enough??).
Burned and Broken is out now in hardback and eBook, and the paperback will follow in May. For more reviews and fab content about Burned and Broken, check out the blog tour, which is still ongoing…
I was sent a copy of the book by the publisher (Sphere) for review purposes, but all opinions are, as ever, my own.