DI Nikki Galena: A police detective with nothing left to lose, she's seen a girl die in her arms, and her daughter will never leave the hospital again. She's got tough on the criminals she believes did this to her. Too tough. And now she's been given one final warning: make it work with her new sergeant, DS Joseph Easter, or she's out.
Her partner, DS Joseph Easter, is the handsome squeaky-clean new member of the team. But his nickname "Holy Joe" belies his former life as a soldier. He has an estranged daughter who blames him for everything that went wrong with their family.
Their adversary is a ruthless man who holds DI Galena responsible for his terrible disfigurement.
Crime on the Fens is the first in a 13 book long series from author Joy Ellis. Overall I liked it without being stunned or amazed or driven to immediately seek out more in the series. Probably the already overwhelming weight of the existing TBR pile has more to do with that, than any fear of wasting valuable reading time on Ellis' work.
Here we have a missing girl case in the hands of DI Galena. Galena, early in the book has her card marked by her boss. She's in the last chance saloon. She is supposedly unpredictable in her methods - attracting many complaints - and is very difficult to work with. Code for not a team player. It's something that isn't really borne out by what follows here. She's obsessed, haunted and driven. We get her back-story..... career, failed marriage and a daughter in a long-term comatose state in hospital.
Plot-wise we deal with - a missing girl, a new partner, a period of getting to know you, an unruly estate, mask wars with feral youths, another missing girl case turning to murder, an increasingly urgent investigation, family problems, teamwork, an alliance with a local criminal king-pin, a damaged child, an obsession with a figure from the past, some distracting/diversionary tactics by our chief villain, and eventually an outcome.
I enjoyed the book, aided by a decent narration by Henrietta Meire. I liked the main character, Nikki Galena and her quick bonding with the new DS Joseph Easter. They quickly share personal confidences and have an innate sense of trust with each other. Each brings the best out of the other, which kind of makes the initial impression that was given of her a bit unnecessary. Her care, support and encouragement for the rest of her team throughout makes it doubly puzzling.
It's quite a busy book with a few seemingly separate things going on all convincingly tied up by the end. I enjoyed the respect and cooperation between Galena and the old school villain on her patch. There's a decent pace to the tale and I liked the setting of the Fens for the action, albeit in a fictional town of the author's imagination.
3.5 from 5
Read - (listened to) October, 2021
Published - 2010
Page count - 285 (7 hrs 13 mins)
Source - Audiobooks
Format - Audible