Thursday, 9 July 2020
ROB PARKER - FAR FROM THE TREE (2020)
Brendan Foley has worked to balance the responsibilities of a demanding job and a troublesome family. He’s managed to keep these two worlds separate, until the discovery of a mass grave sends them into a headlong collision. When one of the dead turns out to be a familiar face, he’s taken off the case.
Iona Madison keeps everything under control. She works hard as a detective sergeant and trains harder as a boxer. But when her superior, DI Foley, is removed from the case, her certainties are tested like never before.
With stories of the Warrington 27 plastered over the news, they set out to solve the crime before anyone else. The local constabulary is small and under-funded – Brendan knows they can’t crack this case alone, and he’s not letting a rival force take over. Not with the secrets he fears are lurking. Their investigations lead them into the murky underworlds of Manchester and Liverpool, where one more murder means little to drug-dealing gangs, desperate to control their power bases.
But as Madison steps into the ring for the fight of her life, the criminals come to them. It’s no coincidence that the corpses have been buried in Foley’s hometown. The question is, why? Foley might not like the answer....
Introducing a gripping new crime thriller, perfect for fans of Clare Mackintosh, Ian Rankin and Line of Duty.
Quite a frenetic book, brought to life by some excellent narration by Warren Brown. Brown lends this fast-paced tale some real passion and vibrancy absolutely nailing the regional accents of some of the novel's players and adding an additional x-factor to Rob Parker's prose. This one, his latest is somewhat peculiarly (to my mind at least) only available as an audble book.
That said the narration only works if the core material is sound and there's a story worth telling. There is. We have a fast-paced tale concerning the discovery of a mass grave in Warrington and the investigation which follows.
A mass grave, murder, forensics, identification, connections, police, family, history, secrets, schisms and fault lines, an investigation - official and off the books, blackmail and threats, career ladders and competition, corruption, crime organisations, hierarchies and a pecking order, an inside mole, a conflict of interest, suspension, allies, tension, turf wars, retirement, long game payback, boxing, a cash machine heist, European adventures and false fronts and a helluva lot more.
I liked the trope of a family divided into two camps. Brendan Foley - an upstanding career policeman, ashamed of his father, Art and the old man's criminal past and wanting nothing to do with him. Forging a career and trying to suppress his extended family's underworld links. It's a fragile truce which is then shattered by the identification of his nephew as the most recent addition to the mass grave..... duty over family? family over truth? or truth and justice and the rest be damned.
I enjoyed the appearance here of a crossover character from Parker's Ben Bracken series. I liked the setting of Warrington and the dips into Manchester and Liverpool. I enjoyed the relevance of the story with the depiction of police corruption and the ease in which the insider was got to. It does make me wonder how a modern police force tries to combat that kind of infiltration.
I quite liked the main characters, Foley and his DS, their relationship and loyalty to each other, the trust between them and the moral quandary Madison found herself in when Foley was suspended. Lots of grey and not everything is shown to be black and white.
Overall an impressive book, though there was one loose thread which I would have liked to have seen wrapped up. Perhaps the author is saving it for another outing?
4.5 from 5
Rob Parker's work has been enjoyed many times before...... Till Morning is Nigh (2019), The Penny Black (2019), Morte Point (2018), Crook's Hollow (2018) and A Wanted Man (2017)
Read - (listened to) July, 2020
Published - 2020
Page count - 280 (8 hrs 53 mins)
Source - Amber Choudhary, publicist at Midas Public Relations
Format - Audible listened to via laptop