Sunday 9 May 2021



Synopsis/blurb ....

Catch as Catch Can is the first in the Merseyside Crime Series from Malcolm Hollingdrake – bestselling author of the Harrogate Crime Series.

A mutilated body apparently washed up on a windswept beach…

A violent criminal gang preys on moped riders across the area…

A teenage girl is desperate to escape sexual exploitation…

It’s a tough introduction to Merseyside for Detective Inspector April Decent, who’s just arrived from her native Yorkshire. Together with new colleague Skeeter Warlock, Decent quickly discovers there’s a sinister link between them all, one that will bring them face-to-face with some uncomfortable home truths.

My first time with author Malcolm Hollingdrake, courtesy of publisher Hobeck Books, but not my last after this enjoyable encounter.

Liverpool, murder, organised gang crime, moped snatch squads, drug smuggling, nosey neighbours, an ill-conceived get rich quick plan from a deluded pensioner, exploitation - young victims, gang loyalty, Bitcoin trading, poor decisions, punishment, young love and young love lost, CCTV, surveillance and a police team investigating, led by a new female Detective Inspector in town.

I liked the book. I don't read that many police procedurals, but when I do I invariably enjoy them. I liked the set-up with a new DI in town, April Decent. We got to know her team at the same time she did. There's also a bit of the personal attached to her back story, enough to add some flesh to her bones. She's a dog lover which is good enough for me. She's also a career minded, driven individual, but not at the cost of her humanity.  

The story evolves quickly and it unfolds from different perspectives. We follow various members of the investigative team, with a few hints that one, maybe two of them may be batting for the other side. This adds a bit of tension to the narrative as you're unsure who can be trusted and whether information uncovered will be of benefit to the police or will tip-off the criminals to the progress of the investigation. We also get to see some of the action from the perspective of the criminals. I like books where the perspective changes and you see a different POV throughout.

Decent pace, decent storyline, interesting characters, satisfying outcome, not too long either - all plusses. I enjoyed the setting of Liverpool and Merseyside and I liked the backdrop of the Anthony Gormley art works in the narrative. 

4 from 5

Syn the second on this series sits waiting on the pile.

Read - April, 2021
Published - 2021
Page count - 312
Source - review copy from publisher, Hobeck Books
Format - Kindle


  1. This one does sound good, Col. I think I read police procedurals more than you do, and this sounds as though it ticks the 'procedural' boxes for me. It might be one of those time when your taste and mine shake hands.

    1. Definitely one where our tastes collide, Margot!