Book Review: The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax by Andrew Cartmel

He is a record collector — a connoisseur of vinyl, hunting out rare and elusive LPs. His business card describes him as the “Vinyl Detective” and some people take this more literally than others.

Like the beautiful, mysterious woman who wants to pay him a large sum of money to find a priceless lost recording — on behalf of an extremely wealthy (and rather sinister) shadowy client. 

Given that he’s just about to run out of cat biscuits, this gets our hero’s full attention. So begins a painful and dangerous odyssey in search of the rarest jazz record of them all…

What I Thought:

I was recommended The Vinyl Detective series as I am smitten with Rivers of London and, while the tone of both series is somewhat similar, The Vinyl Detective definitely holds its own!

In this first book, Written in Dead Wax, we meet our finder of rare vinyl as he is hired to find the rarest of all jazz records, and unravel a decades-old mystery related to the very niche Hathor record label.

Starting as all good PI novels do – with a mysterious woman and a man with a distinct lack of funds – it then becomes a funny and compulsive journey through the record shops and flea markets of London, with psychopathic blonde people thrown in.

As a first novel, it was excellent. The plot is quite intricate and, I thought, well resolved and there are some great supporting characters helping our detective on his quest, which becomes somewhat personal as he is himself a fan of the recordings he has been asked to find.

I’ve read some reviews of this book that have not liked the amount of ‘Vinyl Jargon’ in the story, but I LOVED it – it really appealed to the geek in me and added more background to this book in particular, but also for the following books in the series – we know now why record collectors are the way they are, and it paves the way for further cases.

I think what I liked best about the book is that the detective (we never learn his name) is just an ordinary bloke. Even ‘The Vinyl Detective’ was a drunken joke, never meant to be taken seriously, but he manages to fulfil the role he never expected and Forrest Gump his way through to the end. That, and the cats. You can’t go wrong with a cat lover…

If you haven’t guessed, Written in Dead Wax is highly recommended and I’ve already grabbed the other books in the series as it’s excellent!

Written in Dead Wax is published by Titan Books.

To find out more about Andrew Cartmel, his other books and his many other areas of interest, you can check out his blog. You can also connect with him on Twitter.

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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1 Response to Book Review: The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax by Andrew Cartmel

  1. Pingback: Book Review: The Vinyl Detective: The Run-Out Groove by Andrew Cartmel | It Takes A Woman

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