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Black Dog (Ben Cooper and Diane Fry Book 1) [Mass Market Paperback]

Stephen Booth
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book by Booth, Stephen

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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A matter of perspective... Jan. 2 2002
Format:Hardcover
Whether or not one thinks BLACK DOG is the most amazing book ever written or a run-of-the-mill mystery will undoubtedly be tied to one's perspective and prior reading experience. I have read mostly British mysteries (ALL of Sayers, Christie, James, Dexter, Ellis, Allingham, Walters, Hall, Hill, Robinson, etc.) as well as a few American writers (Cornwall, Evanovich). For me, although BLACK DOG is well written, it is a run-of-the-mill British mystery -- great for grabbing in an airport book store to while away the hours standing in the security lines or seated on airplanes. I would not place Booth in the top tier of recently "arrived" British mystery writers (i.e. Minette Walters) as some have. However, like Jill McGowan he shows promise of surviving the long haul without becoming a super star.
Booth's character development is comparable to Reginald Hill's (medium), although Ben Cooper is more akin to Peter Pasco than Dalziel. Ben Cooper has a future, but I don't find Diane Fry appealing. I think Booth would have done better to spend more time in Cooper's head and less in Fry's. Rare is the writer who can inspire a protagonist of the opposite sex. P.D. James succeeded with Adam Dalglish, but Dalglish is older like James, and older men and women tend to think more alike than not. Life simply wears one down around the edges and narrows the differences.
Booth's forensics events are familiar, particularly if you are a fan of Patricia Cornwell, who did a masterful job of explaining the progression of the decomposition of the human body in BODY FARM. I suppose every mystery/crime writer has to resort to forensics these days, but it gets tiresome to read about flies and maggots over and over.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great start to a great series Dec 9 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I reviewed book 3 in this series as one of the best. This is good introduction to Booth's writing and the series overall.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love Booth Sept. 10 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am reading all of his books, I wish I would of started them in order, but now I am filling in the gaps and enjoy all of them.
I love a mystery in a little town.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric mystery Nov. 16 2009
Format:Paperback
This is a new author for me and very happy to have found him. Nice atmospheric tale by someone who seems well acquainted with the sinister undertones below the charming surface of the English village. I recommend this author to fans of Peter Robinson and Reginald Hill, and look forward to reading the rest of his work.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed Despite Good Reviews March 21 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Although the reviews for this debut police procedural were glowing, I found myself disappointed. The author does a great job setting the scene and the local characters are believable. The dialog was also crisp and realistic. However, I could not connect with his protagonists. They both had so many hidden psychological traumas that it detracted from the main story. I found myself skimming the chapters devoted to them in favor of getting through the story! I was actually relieved when I reached the end.
I don't think I will read the follow-up.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Taut First Novel Jan. 28 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Stephen Booth has created a very taut psychological thriller in his first novel, Black Dog; thereby establishing himself as an exciting new British mystery writer. This book is a dark mystery with many dark secrets--both of the parents of a murdered girl and the inhabitants of Peak District where they live.
Black Dog is the story of Detective Constable Ben Cooper, an English policeman who constantly worries that he will never equal his hero father. Diane Fry, an ambitious outsider, becomes his new partner, and they proceed to investigate the murder of a 15-year-old girl. Her parents, though, pose an obstacle. They are outsiders to the community and really do not seem anxious about finding the murderer of their daughter.
Ah, but then there is the old man and his black dog who found the body. He is closed mouth giving the impression he may know more. But does he? What is the real story. It is up Ben Cooper to find out.
This book is a great first mystery from Stephen Booth, and I look forward to reading more from him.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Start Jan. 16 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
At the beginning of the novel, helicopters are searching the Peak District in northern England searching for missing 15-year-old, Laura Vernon. Detective Constable Ben Cooper is assigned to the case where it seems that the girl's parents are indifferent to their missing daughter. The townspeople are not much help, particularly Harry Dickinson who finds Laura's shoe and then her body.
Cooper is trying hard to fight his father's ghost, a cop killed on duty, as well as other personal demons. He is teamed-up with Detective Constable Diane Fry, a newcomer to Cooper's police precinct. She is ambitious, headstrong and manages to take the case away from Cooper. They are opposites in personality and there are moments of friction between them in deciding how to investigate the case.
It is a good start to what seems to be a promising new series. I would like to see a deeper exploration of Cooper's jealousy toward Fry. The ending in the book seemed a little forced. The guilty are charged and sent to jail but it almost seems like an afterthought. There is a theme of friendship and loyalty between two of the townspeople but I did not feel it while reading the novel. The book mostly explores the personalities of Cooper and Fry as well as the alienation they both feel with their lives. On another side, Laura Vernon's parents have a lot of secrets and it does not help that the townspeople do not like these newcomers in their village.
I liked this book and I am looking forward to reading DANCING WITH THE VIRGINS, Booth's next novel.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb,Exciting,a New British Look!
Well and superbly done! The twists and turns,the clever and cunning characters,and 'a new look' at British Law and Order were compelling,making it hard to put down overnight! Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable Debut
In Stephen Booth's debut novel, we are taken to the Peak District of England. It's in this setting that a 15-year-old girl, Laura Vernon, has gone missing only to be found later,... Read more
Published on Sept. 6 2001 by Untouchable
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Dog, an incredible mystery
From the moment Detective Constable Ben Cooper finds young Laura Vernon's lifeless body his life goes steadily downhill. Read more
Published on July 16 2001 by Stacey
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Dog is a really magnificent book!
A body has been found in the Peak District in Northern England. It's the body of 15-year-old Laura Vernon. The only daughter of Graham and his wife, Charlotte Vernon. Read more
Published on July 16 2001 by Stacey Bucholz
4.0 out of 5 stars Good British mystery
Black Dog puts me in mind of books by some of my favorite authors--Barbara Vine,Ian Rankin and others. The plot keeps you guessing. Read more
Published on May 26 2001 by Suspense Fan
1.0 out of 5 stars I read it again and it still is the worst I've read
Okay, perhaps I was having a bad weekend when I first read Black Dog. I read the reviews, and thought that I had surely missed something. Read more
Published on April 14 2001 by R. M. Talkington III
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