Saturday, 2 June 2018
GRAHAM SMITH - WHEN THE WATERS RECEDE (2018)
When a car is pulled from raging floodwaters with a dead man in the front and the decapitated body of an evil woman in the boot, Cumbria’s Major Crimes Team are handed the investigation.
The woman is soon recognised, but the man cannot be identified and this leads the team and their former leader, Harry Evans, into areas none of them want to visit.
Before they know it, they’re dealing with protection scams and looking for answers to questions they didn’t know needed to be asked.
Another case for the Major Crimes Team with former DI Harry Evans working as a consultant to the force. When the Water Recede was a solid police procedural. We have a couple of dead bodies in a car recovered from flood water, one drowned whilst on his way to dumping the body of the woman in the boot.
I did like a lot of elements in this one. There's the close knit nature of the team, with the added awkwardness of Evans' former charges answering to a new boss, Campbell while the old boss hovers close by. Evans wrangling the consultancy gig by exerting some undue pressure on the new DI. Shouldn't cops or even former ones be above a bit of blackmail? There's also a bit of workplace politicking in the background with other elements resentful of the continued involvement of Evans in police work when to all intents and purposes the bad egg had been moved on.
There's more personal stuff going on. I learned a bit more about the death of Janet Evans and how Harry is coping with his grief and opening up to some sort of life after his bereavement. There's also a big cloud hanging over Lauren, with a persistent suitor who won't take no for an answer. This strand was semi-frustrating as the author teased the reader for a while before releasing the nature of Lauren's worries. I did like the way the personal over-lapped into the workplace. Who doesn't sometimes take their problems with them into work? That said, Lauren is aware of the danger of distraction from the investigation.
Local colour also adds to the flavour. The Cumbrian region and Carlisle in particular has suffered horrendously in the past decade of more with intermittent but repeated flooding, affecting thousands of residents. Smith shares his sympathy for the victims and his frustrations at the inability of the authorities to tackle the issue and make future occurrences a lot less likely.
The investigation itself is interesting. A lack of identification of our corpse bearer stalls the team and the frustration felt is palpable. Other strands of criminality come to the fore and are investigated, including multiple missing persons, before a break in the case, brings a rapid conclusion to bear. There was a bit of unlikely coincidence at play in the resolution, which didn't bump me out of the story, but which I wasn't completely convinced by. I wasn't thrown by the case ending quickly, I guess when things break open there's an inevitable urgency and speeding up of events. It was more the way a character was in the process of scratching an itch with the very same person responsible for our nefarious deeds, while the rest of the team were back at base rapidly joining up the dots.
All in all - a fast pacey read, albeit one read at a snails' pace (life interfering with my reading unfortunately). Definitely a series I will be returning to in the future. Lots to like here.
4 from 5
No Comment, an earlier Major Crimes/Harry Evans book was read and reviewed here.
Graham Smith has his website here.
Catch him on Facebook here and Twitter - @GrahamSmith1972
Read in May/June 2018
Published - 2018
Page count - 260
Source - review copy from Rachel's Random Resources as part of the blog tour
Format - Kindle