Saturday 25 January 2020



Dragged half dead from a river, Ben Bracken, fugitive ex-soldier, is in a bad way.

But, too valuable to discard and too dangerous to set free, an old friend offers him a choice: abandon his identity and become a desk-bound advisor to the National Crime Agency, or go back to the prison he broke out of – a place where he is extremely unpopular.

Bracken is forced to accept – and he’s becoming a different man.

But all this changes when, days before Christmas, an undercover narcotics officer is murdered in horrific circumstances, and only Bracken has the inside track on the key suspect. Throwing himself into the fray, Bracken finds himself in a very present-day ideological conflict, uncovering a plot which has huge implications for both Manchester’s political, socio-economic landscape, and the nation at large – coming to an explosive conclusion amidst the twinkling fairy lights and frost-tipped boughs of Christmas Eve...

Till Morning is Nigh is the fourth Ben Bracken book from Rob Parker and in my opinion the best of the bunch so far.

Concisely - not over long, pacey, a topical plot, a Christmas back drop (should have read it a month ago), with a decent blend of action formed around a hurried investigation.

I think I enjoyed seeing Bracken operating here as part of a team rather than the lone wolf which he seems to have been more of in the earlier books. He has a fledgling family as is somewhat softened here, and all the more appealing for it. The family element gives him a bit more vulnerability ...... a partner, a new born son, two potential step children to love as his own, though there's a dark secret casting a shadow over the family unit, concerning events from the past.

Murder, drugs, politics of the far right variety, patriotism - misguided and genuine, a movement, an exodus from the city, a legendary killer still at large and resurfacing, a popular politician, a gang of ex-military heavies in cahoots, ambitions, agendas, plans and manifestos, alt-right hate, an investigation, undercover and infiltration, a target, a Christmas conspiracy, a nativity play, a sniper, and a helluva lot more besides.

All very on point. There's a slight credibility stretch at Bracken's physical doggedness and determination in the light of some injuries sustained in the lengthy dramas at the end of the book, but it was one I was happy to go along with.

Overall 4.5 from 5.

Roll on the next Bracken book from Parker, hopefully in tandem with the team he worked with in this book. (Unacknowledged and ignored here - I'm rushing my thoughts as I only finished this one an hour or so ago!)

Rob Parker has been enjoyed before......

The Penny Black (2019), Morte Point (2018), Crook's Hollow (2018),  A Wanted Man (2017) 

Read - January, 2020
Published - 2019
Page count - 226
Source - review copy from author
Format - paperback ARC


  1. Sounds like a nicely-paced story, Col. And I agree that it's nice when a protagonist works as part of a team, rather than insisting on playing a lone hand. I think that's more realistic. Sounds like a nicely murky case, too - glad you enjoyed it.

    1. Cheers Margot. I'm enjoying this series over time.

  2. Col – Fast paced and the right length appeals to me. Can the series be read out of order?

    1. There is some back story to the main character, but I think you could jump in anywhere. Some of the previous important events get mentioned without the author ever re-telling old tales.

  3. OK, I bought ebook copies of A Wanted Man and Morte Pointe. I may not read them this year or until later in the year because I have a goal not to start new series by new authors this year. You know, trying to whittle down the TBR pile. But this series sounds promising. We will see.

    1. Ah, that's good to hear. I hope you enjoy them when you get to them. I'm forever reshuffling the intended reading schedule.

  4. Col, the jury will always be out on how much of a protagonist's personal life can make a novel, especially detective-mystery and action-thriller, appealing to the reader till the end. I suppose it depends on whether the author can pull it, as Rob Parker appears to have done here.

    1. Prashant, I like the personal elements as long as they don't obliterate the story, otherwise I feel like you're dealing with two dimensional cardboard characters.