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Clean Cut: An Anna Travis Mystery [Paperback]

Lynda La Plante

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Book Description

Sept. 30 2008 Anna Travis Mysteries
Dedicated, intuitive, and utterly obsessive, DCI James Langton is ruthless in his pursuit of a gang of illegal immigrants, the murderers of a young prostitute. When one of them nearly kills him, Anna Travis nurses his wounds and bears the brunt of his frustrations, putting her own life and career on hold. But then one of Anna's own cases -- the seemingly motiveless murder of a quiet, studious woman -- turns out to be linked with Langton's, and Anna becomes the gang's next target. As USA Today wrote of La Plante's Above Suspicion, "There is no sugarcoating on this 100-proof police procedural."

La Plante's growing legions of fans will not be disappointed.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (Sept. 30 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416586660
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416586661
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.9 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #225,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In La Plante's solid third police procedural to feature London Det. Insp. Anna Travis (after 2007's The Red Dahlia), Anna's lover and superior, Det. Chief Insp. Jimmy Langton, is knifed while investigating the murder of a young prostitute. As Anna helps him recuperate, Jimmy becomes obsessed with catching his assailant, rumored to be Clinton Camorra, a notorious drug trafficker and voodoo practitioner. Anna discovers another link to Camorra's gang of illegal immigrants in one of her own murder cases, the apparently motiveless killing of a woman by Arthur George Murphy, who also practices voodoo. After Arthur's sister and niece are murdered and another niece and nephew disappear, Anna suspects that not only is Camorra behind the crimes but that she may be the next target. Though her stance on illegal immigration is sometimes too strident for the story to support, La Plante has created another damaged heroine almost as appealing as her inimitable Jane Tennison. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lynda La Plante's fourteen novels, including the Prime Suspect series, have all been international bestsellers.  She is an honorary fellow of the British Film Institute and a member of the UK Crime Writers Awards Hall of Fame.  She was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 2008.  She runs her own television production company and lives in London and Easthampton, New York.  Visit her website at laplantebooks.com.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One Tough London Copper Oct. 23 2008
By Mel Odom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Lynda La Plante is well known to mystery/suspense readers. Her BBC television series, PRIME SUSPECT, ran for seven seasons and starred award-winning actress Helen Mirren as DCI Jane Tennison. In addition to being an actress herself and writing movie and television scripts, La Plante has written several stand-alone and series novels.

The author's latest book, CLEAN CUT, is the third in her Anna Travis series. RED DAHLIA and ABOVE SUSPICION. I hadn't read either of the previous books, but I had no problem diving into this one regarding backstory. La Plante delivers well-developed characters with a tremendous amount of internal conflict. What I needed to know about the two primary characters, Anna and her lover Detective Chief Inspector Jimmy Langdon, was quickly supplied, and I was immersed into the new problems that faced them as a couple and as police officers.

After a rather slow-paced launch at the start of the book, though deep in character complications, Anna starts questioning her relationship with Langdon. She's gotten irritated at the way she seems to have turned from lover to caretaker for him, all without appreciation. Then she gets the phone call that turns her life inside out: Langdon was attacked at his latest crime scene. She's told that even if he lives, Langdon will probably never walk again.

The book centers at the outset on the test of the two wills of Anna and Langdon. She wants to help, but he's so cynical and bitter that she can barely stand to be around him. Not only that, but she finds out that Langdon is going behind her back to get information about the man that attacked him. Anna fears that Langdon is engaging in a vendetta that will land him in trouble with the law. If the wheelchair doesn't get Jimmy Langdon, it looks like prison will.

I liked the characters a lot because they have obvious history and "feel" real. I hated the way Langdon treats Anna, but I totally understood where Langdon's mind is while in the hospital. People in situations like Langdon's strike out at those that love them because those people are the only ones willing to put up with them. This bitterness spreads throughout the novel as Anna's own murder case suddenly intersects with the investigation Langdon was pursuing when he was nearly killed.

La Plante uses the novel to point out how vulnerable countries are these days. Transient populations drift through major cities, like London in this novel, and bring a lot of danger and crime because that's a big part of what those people have to rely on for employment. The presentation of La Plante's views may be unsettling for some, but there's now denying the existence of the problem.

The book remains steady throughout, and its solid police work that breaks the cases wide open and connects them. There are no car chases, martial arts battles, or shootouts. The action La Plante relays in her pages is propelled by emotion and the reader's driving curiosity to find out what's going to happen next. The author has a great ear for dialogue, and her police characters talk the way those people do, in rough vernacular tinged with black humor.

CLEAN CUT is a good book, but it's made even better by the stress on Anna and Langdon's relationships. The final few pages will come as a shock to some. And it will leave readers wondering what's going to happen for Anna in the next book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! Nov. 29 2009
By Avid Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Another great book by Lynda LaPlant, who should get much more recognition for her writing. Yes it is graphic, but there is much worse out there. LaPlant holds the reader from the beginning. I was torn by wanting to race through the book and not wanting it to end. Bravo!
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars superb English police procedural Sept. 30 2008
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In London Detective Chief Inspector Jimmy Langton interrogates prime murder suspect Somali expatriate Idris Krasiniqe. The illegal immigrant claims two gang members were involved in the killing of teenaged prostitute Carly Ann North. Jimmy questions the two when one of them stabs him with a machete. The cop is lucky to be alive.

Jimmy's lover and subordinate Detective Inspector Anna Travis helps him physically recover, but mentally he wants revenge by bringing his attacker, alleged to be drug dealer Clinton Camorra, to jail. Meanwhile Anna investigates the slashing murder of librarian Irene Phelps; sex offender Arthur George Murphy confesses. When his sister Gail Sickert and his infant niece are murdered and two other relatives vanish, Anna thinks voodoo practitioner Camorra is the culprit in all the crimes.

With Jane Tennison taking a needed breather, Lynda La Plante turns to her other tough yet vulnerable heroine (see THE RED DAHLIA and ABOVE SUSPICION). Anna Travis is a terrific lead character who holds the extremely complex police procedural story line together. She accomplishes this remarkable feat in spite of several major fascinating subplots and the strong stance on illegal immigration that runs throughout. Fans will appreciate Ms. La Plante's superb English police procedural.

Harriet Klausner
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Clean Cut Nov. 20 2008
By Gloria Feit - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
DI Anna Travis and DCI James Langton have worked on two cases together, both of them problematical at their end. Now, they have been living together for eighteen months. Their relationship and indeed their lives are unalterably changed when, as Langton is about to make an arrest, he sustains horrific wounds when attacked by a machete-wielding man. [The title derives from the wounds inflicted by that instrument.] Anna oversees his care while in rehabilitation and takes over that care in her small apartment after his release from the institution.

Theirs has been a symbiotic relationship: Earlier in his career, "Langston was promoted as a result of a report made by Jack Travis [Anna's policeman father]. In part, that was the reason why Langton had brought Anna onto his team for her first murder case. It was also the reason he had saved her career in the Red Dahlia investigation."

Anna joins a new murder team in Brixton investigating the death of a thirty-nine-year-old librarian whose body has been found by her twelve-year-old daughter. It is a difficult adjustment: "She found it all very depressing: so different from working alongside Langton, whose energy and tireless pressure on everyone around him always paid dividends. There had been numerous other cases she had been involved in before and after Langton; none of the SIOs ever matched him, or even came close." At the end of that case and when, against all odds, Langton returns to duty, he asks for her to join his new team.

The new case in puzzling manner seems to be related to the one Langton was working on when he was attacked: the murder of a teenage prostitute. There are several other murders, involving voodoo, pedophilia, and dismemberment including decapitation, and every line of inquiry turns into a dead end. There is also a lot of information about the problem of ever-increasing immigration, legal and otherwise, in England, as well as its troubled justice system, which at times I found to be overdone. Also constantly in the background is the question of how, or even if, the relationship between Travis and Langton will evolve.

I wanted to like this book much more than I did. I've long been a fan of this author's wonderful "Prime Suspect" series with Helen Mirren on PBS. I'd not read the previous Anna Travis mysteries, "Above Suspicion" and "The Red Dahlia," and the ending hints at another to follow. But I found the pace of this book to be much too slow, with the author constantly reviewing the plot to date, perhaps to lessen in the mind of the reader the complexity of the characters and the various unspeakable acts committed by them. Clarity does not always ensue. But, as always, others' mileage may vary.
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Anna Travis mystery April 6 2014
By "Ali" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book, like the other Anna Travis books I've read (the third ), is well written. Although I find some of the names and characters confusing, with African immigrants and their names and the names they've changed them to in England, the story lines are interesting. Anna Travis and Langton, her boss/lover break up because of a horrendous injury he's suffered. He can't get over the trauma, and closes her out of his personal life. I do like the familiar characters that appear from book to book, the detectives that both of the main characters work with. And the different story lines in the book are always so different. (This book contains traces f voodoo, child abuse, illegal immigrant smuggling, and drug smuggling.) Well worth reading.
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