Sunday, November 20, 2011

First of Three British Police Novels: James Craig, LONDON CALLING

After 30+ years as a journalist, James Craig talked Soho Crime into a three-book contract, starting with the just-released LONDON CALLING. Inspector John Carlyle is a mildly out of shape but loyal husband and father with a sensible sidekick (Joe Szyskowksi) and a rather distant female boss. He's human enough to be likable, and most if not all of his problems are due to not calling people back or not answering his cell phone. I like him.

LONDON CALLING does show its "debut" status, though, with some confused metaphors, contradictory adjectives, and, for my taste, a bit too much emphasis on the British class structure and the graphic consequences of anal sex. That said, though, the plot is quick and polished, the characters are highly believable, and I'll read the next one, in anticipation of a quick learning curve.

A sample of this police procedural:
Carlyle saw several hours of time wasting ahead of him and felt his body sag. He gritted his teeth to keep hold of his anger.

'This,' he said, pointing a finger at Brolin, 'had better not be one of your f***ed-up guests pissing about.' Aching with tiredness, Carlyle could feel himself starting to go off on one, but he was saved by Prentice putting a hand on his arm, gently telling him to give it a rest. It was a timely intervention, and Carlyle acknowledge it with a nod. He understood the sergeant's point: don't shoot the messenger -- even if he does appear to be a moron.
At the moment, the author's website isn't complete. Keep an eye on it; good things are likely.

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