|Amazon Price||New from||Used from|
Family troubles of all shapes and surprises keep the cops hopping and the tension high in English novelist Stephen Booth's fourth Ben Cooper/Diane Fry mystery, Blind to the Bones.
The most affecting of this novel's three plot lines concerns the disappearance of university student Emma Renshaw, who was last seen more than two years ago while on her way home to Derbyshire. Unable to accept that their daughter isn't merely late on the train, that she's more than likely dead, Howard and Sarah Renshaw have gone to extraordinary lengths to find her, consulting psychics and "bombarding the police with theories and suggestions, pleas and demands"--all for naught. But then, suddenly, Emma's blood-stained mobile phone is found, and the Renshaws' faith seems finally to be rewarded. Or is this just another opportunity for disappointment? Meanwhile, Detective Constable Cooper--posted temporarily (he hopes) to a rural crime squad--is investigating burglaries around the depressed old village of Withens, when the battered corpse of one of Emma's ex-housemates turns up on the nearby moors, his face blackened with theatrical make-up and stolen goods left behind in his car. Inquiries lead Cooper to a clannish local family with a history of trouble-making, and put him in the sights of a shadowy group called the Border Rats.
Booth's ability over the course of a story to transform some of his least suspicious players into the most devious (or vice-versa) and his appreciative portrayal of England's scenic Peak District both make for engrossing fiction. Blind to the Bones's subtlest but most intriguing element, though, may be its third plot thread, which finds Detective Sergeant Fry's long-lost, heroin-addicted sister turning up in Edendale, where she tries to enlist Cooper's help in convincing the hard-edged Diane to stop looking for her, once and for all. This track answers several questions about DS Fry's past while raising more--and promising new levels of character development in future installments of this series. --J. Kingston Pierce
Set in a damp English village on the midland moors, Booth's fourth suspense novel is a moody, meandering tale, bringing back the two police protagonists of Blood on the Tongue and Dancing with the Virgins. Det. Constable Ben Cooper has just been transferred to a rural beat when he finds himself up to his handcuffs in the gruesome murder of a young man, Neil Granger. Meanwhile, his former superior, Det. Sgt. Diane Fry, is investigating the two-year-old disappearance of 19-year-old Emma Renshaw. The cases are almost certainly related-Emma and Neil both grew up in the Peak District village of Withens and were housemates in the Black Country, an urban area just west of Birmingham-but clues linking them are scarce. As Fry and Cooper pursue their separate investigations, Emma's distraught and unbalanced parents prove a hindrance, and a family of petty criminals further hamper progress. An accidental shooting, the discovery of a second corpse, a possible link to a burglary ring and a suspicious land development deal add more complications. Bogged down in this plethora of subplots, Fry and Cooper are also plagued by personal troubles. Fry's own sister has been missing for 15 years, and Cooper has information about her that he doesn't know whether to share. Though the two detectives wrestle with their feelings for each other, their conflicted relationship produces few sparks. Short on suspense and long on melodrama, this is a tepid effort from a much-praised writer of sophisticated crime fiction.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This book was just as great as all the other Cooper and Fry books he has written. I am working my way through them in sequence and have not been disappointed once. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Susan
I like serialized stories/novels. The return of characters that you know is something I look forward to. This book is no different. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Sir Steven
I've enjoyed previous Stephen Booth novels but could barely bother to finish this one. Flat, one-dimensional characters, lifeless, implausible dialogue and a dull and muddled plot... Read morePublished on Dec 30 2003
Two years ago nineteen-year-old Emma Renshaw disappeared. Now her housemate Neil Granger is found dead. Is there a link between their deaths? Read morePublished on Nov. 14 2003 by SDRTX
Two years ago, student Emma Renshaw disappeared while on her way home from university. Now, a new discovery in remote countryside prompts the police to reinvestigate the case. Read morePublished on Oct. 5 2003 by RachelWalker