This blog isn’t about a single book in a series, but about the series itself.
It’s been a long time since I found a series, with so many books already published, that I hadn’t already read. The first 5 books are available with at least one other about to be released later in 2021.
I read the first two, Deadly Wishes and Deadly Choices, over a weekend and reviewed them in my last blog, since then I’ve downloaded the other three: Deadly Desires, Deadly Terror and Deadly Reprisal, and read them one after the other.
So why has this series got me hooked?
The locations of the crimes, the area that the stories are set in is very familiar to me, around Central and Western Birmingham, areas I worked in for years.
The realism of the policing. The fact that Rachel McLean has identified how the West Midlands Police works, the fact that the Major Investigation Team are based, as they are in real life, in Rose Road Police Station in Harborne.
The main character DI Zoe Finch his a highly strung single mother of a teenage boy. The boys father is a fellow Police Officer who Zoe did not know was a married, family man, when she was having a relationship with him, the difficulties this now brings as the son navigates relationships with his mom and father, and his fathers family.
Finch ishighly strung and at times difficult to get on with, but as a character in a book she is so easy to empathise with, and like. She is great at spotting the hidden detail and second to none at spotting inconsistencies in paper trails, documents, statements, and anything that is in print.
Her team is well balanced, and a great mixture of characters all of which fit nicely into the stories.
But what has me hooked more than anything else is the running theme of the series. There is at least one Police Officer who is bent, and is linked to a local crime boss, and Zoe has her suspicions that it’s not just one officer, in fact she has a Senior Officer in her sights.
It quickly become apparent that some officers are also under investigation by the Professional Standards department, and as the series progresses they, and Zoe get tantalising close to exposing the cop at the top of the pile of corruption.
McLean has come up with a great way of showing how the bent officers are paid without raising suspicion or leaving a trail. The stories in the books are interwoven so that each one is a great story on its own, but they also chisel away at the main running theme, of not only catching the Crime Boss, but also taking down the Corrupt Police Boss, or bosses.
To say this set of stories would make a great crime series would be underselling it. These books are really good.
My only gripe would be that if I had read them out of sequence, I would never have got the impact that I have by reading them in the right order. They could but the reader would be frustrated by the references to things which happen in previous books.
As a series this is definitely a five star plus, but because the continuing story is so important each individual book would be a four star read, even though the main central story for each book would deserve more.
Publisher: Ackroyd Publishing Books 1-5 available now