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3.6 out of 5 stars
The Circus (An Inspector Carlyle Novel)
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon 29 January 2013
James Craig's latest Inspector Carlyle novel is a whirlwind of frenzied activity. The plot is a barely disguised parallel to a topical issue embellished by the author into a complex web of intricacy. At the hub of this is a phone-hacking scandal but the author uses this cleverly to spin the rest of the story. Characters enter (and leave) the scene thick and fast, most having relevance to the goings-on. Carlyle is at his irascible best. His boss, Commander Simpson, sums him up as 'having the ability to get results only matched by for his capacity to be immensely annoying and totally unmanageable'. Clearly not a team player. With little sleep and often working into the 'fifty shades of grey'! winter evenings Carlyle opens one can of worms after another.

Existing on a diet of caffeine, cake and whisky, Carlyle and side-kick Sergeant Joe Szyszkowsky are thrust into a series of incidents involving multiple murders. The Prime Minister and other high-profile government officials are hell-bent on self-preservation and winning the next general election. Sorting out the phone-hacking mess seems to be a potential vote-puller. An investigation is set up, 'Operation Redhead' !!, questioning journalists from the tabloid 'Sunday Witness' and its affiliates, including its managing director, Sonia Claesens, who works for the Zenger Corporation under the umbrella of the global 'New Media Conglomerate'.

The multitasking Carlyle is under pressure to sort out the spate of murders without causing any undue fracas. The fact that this may inciminate involvement with the Metropolitan Police (including the commissioner), politicians, journalists and the Zenger corporation, all with self-interests, adds a considerable degree of difficulty to the investigation. Throw in a missing teenager, fraud, theft, conspiracy and corruption, Carlyle's fact-based approach allied to unconvential detective methods, the ingredients are there to produce a taut novel. The characters are developed clearly and descriptively together with their interactions and motives forming main features of the novel. The hard-nosed Carlyle believes in justice at all cost and deplores cover-ups and dishonesty. At times he shows a gentler, caring side of himself and is not without remorse. As events and details are gradually revealed the whole intertwined mesh becomes unravelled and then tied up once and for all by the author in a most satisfying way.

An exciting and enjoyable read through a complex non-stop narrative full of hazards and dangers with the interesting protagonists weaving their way through the action. Very entertaining and well-written by James Craig.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 2013
I have only recently found Inspector Carlyle series of books and have enjoyed the characters of both the Inspector and his fellow officers, the story lines are up to date with the present political affairs and the police force methods of working, the hard facts of life in the criminal world are softened by Carlyle's family and his own out look about his working life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2013
I've read the previous Carlyle yarns and enjoyed them. No change here. The characters are believable and interesting. I find it attractive that the author allows his prejudices full reign through his characters and the plot. The plot is topical and is Mr Craig's take on what lies behind recent London headlines. So, an excellent, pacy read and a refreshing escape from anodyne PC wooden characters. The crooks are evil, the cops are not much better, moral ambiguity everywhere except with our shabby hero. Don't miss it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2015
this is not a new book was previously sold under the title of The Circus do not be fooled into thinking it is a new book
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2013
This was a gripping read with interesting main character. (How soon to him being on TV?)
However, I fear that the topicality will mean that it loses its appeal when the current issues (e.g. phone-hacking, today's politicians) are out-of-date. That and the (for my taste) excessive sex and violence led me to give it only three stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 2 March 2013
the series appeals to me as I like my policeman to appear human with normal feelings and failings.This continues with the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 July 2013
I was on holiday, had finished the excellent book I had taken and then saw this on a shelf. What a mistake. The plot is at best ok, but the closeness to real events in the hacking saga makes it all a little silly but what most grates is the unending product placement. Once or twice I laughed out loud (not the author's intention). In this book the subject doesn't just put down a glass of wine...he puts down a glass of Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru 2006 and not just on a table but a Calligaris Park dining table. An early victim flops onto the cream Ligne Roset Togo sofa and switches on the Loewe Xelos LCD/LED HD 1080p Gigital TV. It's like flicking through an Argos catalogue with a plot!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This was one of my less inspired purchases. James Craig obviously appeals to some readers but I found his book tiresome and implausible. In particular, I disliked his habit of specifying exactly what type of clothes a character was wearing, or type of television was being viewed etc. This struck me as an attempt to show off his knowledge of, especially, luxury items but added nothing to the text. Although there was a rather muddled plot line it was obscured by a variety of poorly conceived subplots. Finally, not one of the characters, particularly Carlyle himself, had a single redeeming feature that would appeal to the reader. All-in-all then, a very poor effort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2013
Five stars because it keeps you enthralled to the very end. Builds on his previous novels, so that the main characters feel very familiar.

Some people have said there are too many characters & too many strands, but I think the image of the multi-tasking, over-stretched policeman brings more realism to the book. Only negative is it's far too hard to tear yourself away once you start reading it.

Would recommend to anyone who likes a fast-paced novel that will keep you interested until the final page.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2013
I have enjoyed reading the other books in the series, but this is my least favourite so far.
If you've read the others, then don't be put off, this one feels a little more disjointed.
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