Monday, May 19, 2014

British Police Procedural: UNDER A SILENT MOON, Elizabeth Haynes

Often I like the design of a British-edition book cover better than the American version. For the newest suspenseful investigation from Elizabeth Haynes, however, I think the American one lost out by moving the book's Karin Slaughter blurb to the rear instead of the front of the jacket. Slaughter recommended that readers "surrender to this obsessive thriller." Any Slaughter fan will instantly know this is a title to pick up.

But if you're not yet a Karin Slaughter reader, here are some additional reasons to pick up UNDER A SILENT MOON:
* Female investigator protagonist with great layers of character and believable complications: DCI Louisa Smith, running her first major crime investigation.
* Insight into how a major crime team functions, including the British positions on the team.
* Insight in terms of how a team member can get pulled onto the "dark side" of the investigation, because of careless gaps in maturity and sloppy ethics ... and that turns out to embody the compelling and highly suspenseful twists of the book.
* Lively page-turning pace (although at times slightly choppy due to multiple points of view).
Here's a sample:
"Right, let's have some hush, please," Lou said, hoping her voice sounded more commanding than she felt. The briefing room was packed. Andy Hamilton was sitting right at the front; next to him was Barry Holloway. Her detective sergeant, Sam Hollands, was right at the back, her mouth set in a determined line. Lou knew she would probably never have so many people at a briefing again; by the time the first week was over, she would lose people to other duties and would have to beg, borrow, or steal to get them back. If, heaven forbid, the case was to drag on into months, she would end up with only a couple of the people here now.

She needed a quick arrest.
Haynes added another quirk to this, her fourth book (released last fall in the UK; April 2014 in the USA): She slips investigation documents into the text, letting them deliver some of the details and clues -- check out her explanation here:

I found the documents mostly distracting -- it's the people that pull me forward, even in a plot-driven investigation. But I'll put Haynes on my watch list from now on: She's so good, and the book held my interest so well, that I want to see how her crime fiction continues to grow.

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