The third in the best-selling series featuring Inspector Carlyle.
When Inspector John Carlyle discovers a disorientated girl in a park near Buckingham Palace, he takes it upon himself to find out who she is and where she's from. His hunt for the identity of this lost girl takes him from Ukrainian gangsters in North London to the lower reaches of the British aristocracy. Soon, the inspector is on the trail of a child-trafficking ring that stretches from Kiev to London, and back to the palace itself...
James Craig is a media professional living in central London. Born in Scotland, he has lived and worked Down South for over 30 years.
©2013 James Craig (P)2013 Audible Ltd
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"Realistic, humorous, dark, intelligent..."
Carlyle, obstinate, ill-humoured is even more pig-headed and belligerent to the authorities then usual as he fights to right the wrongs of a nine year old Ukranian girl. He battles his old crime protection unit to the palace, a Ukranian gangster , and of course the slow machinations and sheer apathy of the social/justice system.
This case puts a fire in his belly and he causes uproar where ever he goes not really giving a damn bar getting the result he wants, much to his bosses exasperation.
You see a side to Carlyle that is almost endearing, though he still has his foul mouth, crass observations and inner world weary inner monologue which entertained.
The gritty, twisty, multifaceted plot kept me guessing and as usual does not go down any well worn path, stubbornly forcing it's own way that stimulated and kept me guessing how on earth the author was going to end such a complex case.
As usual Joe Jameson gives life and depth to Carlyle which added to my enjoyment.,
JC's best Carlyle novel yet..
"Unbelievable and full of inaccuracies."
I struggled with this book. I am not the biggest of James Craig's fans however this fell so far below even his standards. The book charts the investigation into child trafficking. I found the lack of basic understanding of the way police, CEOP and social care works, offensive. I have no problem with poetic licence, I do have a problem with blatant ignorance or reliance on out dated stereotypical misogynistic characters. It was full of moralistic absurdities such as a character not enforcing an arrest warrant for child trafficker - really? Come on!
On to narration. This did not help the book - I have never heard anyone speak like Joe Jameson narrates. All the female characters sound the same - dull and dumb. When he was reading a narrative rather then a character, the narration was ok. On the whole though, it was not good. I would also expect a narrator or the production crew or the author to know how to read / say basic, and repeatedly used references in the book. For example the narrator spells out C-E-O-P (child exploitation and online protection centre) throughout the book. It is referred to by all including the media as CE-OP (like you would say CO-OP). This is a basic reference which is just not understood or corrected.
The book was unbelievable and, at times, offensive. I listened to it all just to see how Craig would conclude it - needless to say it finished as it started - poorly written and unbelievable.
"Everybloke Inspector Carlyle comes into his own"
A policeman with the quirks and foibles of the 'average' bloke isn't the most obviously attractive character to have at the centre of a novel but in this book I think James Craig gets the balance just about right.
I've listened to one other book in this series and I have to say I didn't take to the gruff Inspector at all. While I think I understood what the author was trying to do - i.e, get away from the overly quirky, emotionally incontinent, hard-bitten loner - with obligatory drink/drug/other problems - that is the stock male protagonist, the characterisation in the previous book (#1) lacked balance. Carlyle was too offhand, too devoid of empathy and lacking in any traits which I could find at all sympathetic.
Even 'nice' male leads in other books tend to be laden with neuroses and/or terrible childhoods not to mention an inability to move on from the trauma of losing a wife or a posh/mean girlfriend who gave them the elbow at an early age. Not Carlyle . He carries whatever emotional baggage he has like the stoic (ish) everyman he is. He doesn't even have a daft name.
The punk band he likes (The Clash) is the one that ordinary blokes like. There's no binbag & safety pin couture in his past. He has a wife and daughter to whom, it becomes clear in this book, he is devoted. He worries about his daughter's safety and her future. He takes his job seriously but not to the point of obsession which seems to be de rigeur in so many other procedurals. He is also, I think, committed to securing whatever kind of 'justice' is in his power.
He may be ordinary (and he is....sort of) but that in itself is a refreshing change from the tenpence-mix bag of cliches that so often populate crime novels.
As to the plot, it is far from formulaic. The ''fiends in high places' is not exactly new but it is well handled. And quite brave to judge by at least one review.
Finally, I'm sure the Inspector would far rather the alleged lack of narrative 'chords' in which his story is conveyed be compared to The Ramones rather than good old Status Quo.
"Enjoyed this story, but a bit slow."
This is the third book of this series and I have enjoyed getting to know the main characters. This was my least favourite though.
"The Status Quo of crime writers"
The author knows only two ways to construct a sentence, much like Status Quo, the band, only uses two chords in all their songs. Unfortunately it was the only audiobook I had with me on a long car journey and I was forced to listen. I found myself shouting: read a book, learn from other writers!
A different setting, Buckingham Palace etc. and the people were credible.
If the reader had more variety of tones, he reads in a monotonous fashion.
I recommend reading The Cuckoo's Calling to the author. That is penmanship at its best. There are more ways to start a sentence than with a gerund.
"good book for republicans"
No, this is the first book I have come across by this author, and although I am not a rabid monarchist, I did not care for the writer's views on the police or the palace. Nor did I enjoy the rather formulaic story line including the obligatory gay character, and I am unlikely to continue to the end..
nothing really, just not my cup of tea
After a slow start his characterisations were good with the exception of Olga who sounded more Mexican than Eastern European.
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