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4.7 out of 5 stars
Blood on the Tongue
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 31 October 2003
The third in the Cooper / Fry series once again uses the rugged, picturesque landscape of the Derbyshire Peak District as a stark backdrop to another enjoyable police procedural.
It’s January and the Edendale police are severely short-staffed thanks to terrible weather and a number of “slip and fall” injuries. Meanwhile the snow is falling and is creating havoc is a town that seems to be going through a bit of a crime wave. Beatings, missing children and a couple of dead bodies are discovered in the snow, one going unidentified and the other prompting more questions than are answered. On top of this comes an unusually high level of interest in a 57-year-old wartime plane crash that had taken place just outside of town. How had the plane crashed? Whatever became of the pilot? Why is there so much interest in it now after all this time?
Detective Constable Ben Cooper is still the hardworking, under appreciated officer who is more than willing to take on any task assigned to him. His immediate superior Detective Sergeant Diane Fry is still the antagonistic outsider who resents Cooper’s popularity and hardworking ethics. Surely something’s got to give between these two sometime.
This excellent series of books is continued by yet another strong entry. Powerful writing gives the feeling of being placed within sight of the beautiful peaks around Edendale.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2011
The previous book was a tough act to follow but 'Blood on the Tongue' is a damn fine attempt. Stephen Booth has written another wonderfully unpredictable (yet perfectly logical, once you look back on it) murder mystery here set on the Derbyshire Moors. He's even created a charismatic new area for a murder to take place in; the mysterious Irontonge Hill, famous in local lore for bearing the brunt of a World War Two airplane crash. The narrative cleverly re-explores the more unexplained aspects of that crash as well as the murders in the present.

Because this tale takes place at the height of winter, snow is prevelent from the first page to the last. It's a nice touch to have freezing weather conditions hinder the investigation. From memory, I think Booth tried to produce a similar background effect in 'Black Dog', only with summer heat. Here though the intention works much better, partly because snow is a far more troublesome foe in middle England than a mild heatwave, and partly because the author is simply on much better form now than when he penned his debut. He's just doing everything so much better. Irontongue Hill, by the way, is extremely well suited to a wintertime murder mystery.

Cooper and Fry go through their usual routine of awkward co-operation, although Fry is slightly less hard-ass this time. The scene where she puts Cooper's picture above the mantelpiece is a very nice touch. In fact, the whole subplot which has Cooper moving out of home can only be a good thing for the series. I've never thought the scenes at the farmhouse with his brother add much.

To sum up, if you've got the patience for an expertly crafted 600 page whodunnit set in rural England, this is the book for you. It can also be enjoyed if you haven't previously touched the first two, as each book is a separate story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A newspaper and magazine journalist for over 25 years, Stephen Booth was born in the English Pennine town of Burnley. He was brought up on the coast at Blackpool, where he began his career in journalism by editing his school magazine and wrote his first 'novel' at the age of 13.

There is no easy way to commit suicide, but Marie Tennent seems to have gone out of her way to make hers as difficult and uncomfortable as possible. She just seemed to have given up the will to live and curled up in the freezing snow and stayed there until her body was covered in a layer of frost, almost making her blend in with the countryside.

Marie's body is not the only one the police have to contend with as a baby is discovered in the wreckage of an old bomber aircraft and the body of a man is dumped by the roadside. All this coming at a time when snow and ice have left half of the Division out of action and Diane fry is forced to partner DC Gavin Murfin. Fry and Ben Cooper were never going to be the dream team but Ben is her soul mate compared to Murfin.

This is just the start of another murder from the pen/word processor of the author. This psychological thriller is well written, entertaining and thrilling (well in my experience not all thrillers are). I have read several of the author's books and this is as good as any.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2008
I've been meaning to get around to Stephen Booth's work for a while now and I'm pleased that I finally managed it. This a satisfying, complex thriller, full of twists and turns that keeps you reading [and guessing] for over 600 pages - quite a feat. Booth has come up with an endearing pair of mismatched detectives in Cooper and Fry and a solid supporting cast of cops, villains and Peak District eccentrics. I've read and enjoyed most of Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks books - another police procedural with a rural England setting - and Booth is in the same league. The Derbyshire settings add to the enjoyment [as a native of that county] and are well integrated into the story.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2002
BLOOD ON THE TONGUE is another fantastic novel from Stephen Booth. Not only another fantastic novel, but one with old friends, and even some new ones. Reading BLOOD ON THE TONGUE felt like coming home again.
It is in the middle of the coldest part of the year in the Peak District. The time of the year for cold, frozen feet and red, burning ears. When snow flurries blow hard, and the snow banks along the roads grow so high that they hide all kinds of secrets. Perhaps even a dead body, or two.
Ben Cooper and Diane Fry find themselves together again, at the Edendale Police Department in the midst of a crime wave. Young men are beating each other, people are being found frozen in the snow, and there is a terrible shortage of help. To make life just that much more unbearable at the moment, Diane has a new nemesis, DC Gavin Murfin. A completely, in Diane's mind anyway, uncivilized brute who drives her nuts with both his disgusting eating habits, as well as just him simply breathing. Everything about Gavin disgusts Diane.
To top everything off E Division is getting a new Detective Chief Inspector. Stewart Tailby is retiring to a desk job at headquarters, and DCI Oliver Kessen is taking over.
In the middle of this chaos a young woman arrives from Canada in search of information concerning her grandfather, Daniel McTeague. The problem with this is that Pilot Officer McTeague has been missing since his RAF plane went down 57 years earlier in the peat moors around Irontongue Hill. It was reported at the time that Officer McTeague had survived the accident, and had left the wreckage, walking away from his military career and past life, never to be seen, or heard from again. His granddaughter, Alison Morrissey does not believe this, and is insistent that the police open the old case again and investigate.
Because of political pressure, the Chief Superintendent agrees to speak to Morrissy concerning her grandfather, but doesn't really have his heart in the whole thing. After all the disappearance was 57 years ago, and all of the evidence surrounding it seems pretty sound.
But Ben cannot, and will not let it alone. He has to find out what happened almost 60 years ago.
BLOOD ON THE TONGUE, like the previous books by Mr. Booth, is full of atmosphere and personal relationships. He does this in such a way that you actually feel that you are in the story. The way Mr. Booth describes the Peak District landscape, and the people of
Edendale draw you into the story.
You feel the cold wind against your face, burning your ears, and making it difficult to breath. As you look up at Irontongue Hill you will see it is, "tongue shaped with ridges and furrows. Reptilian, not human, with a curl at the tip. Colder and harder than iron. Darker rock laying on broken teeth of volcano rock debris." And 'you will' see it. All of this you will see and feel, along with people who you cannot forget, their lives entwined and yet separate. Mr. Booth brings both the land and the people together into a story that is completely unforgettable. One that will haunt you and make you want for more. And when you finally get that next story, Mr. Booth does it again, leaving you satisfied, and yet already yearning for more.
BLOOD ON THE TONGUE weaves the past and the present into one. Brings the story full circle. Every character and scene is woven so tightly that you cannot separate them, and yet they remain individual. The characters are everyday characters with lives, feelings, and personalities of their own that you actually can feel and touch. The scenes are so real that they will haunt your dreams at night. The mood, while dark, is absolutely balanced with enough humor and light that it doesn't depress you, but instead keeps you turning those pages to learn more.
BLOOD ON THE TONGUE is an absolute winner, and Mr. Booth has proven himself again as a literary giant. All I can say is that BLOOD ON THE TONGUE will leave you craving for more from this outstanding author.
As with Mr. Booth's previous books, Black Dog, and Dancing with the Virgins, BLOOD ON THE TONGUE is a book that you will want to read slowly, because you want to savor each and every word. It is a book you will not want to rush through. I took my time, knowing that when I turned that last page I would want the next episode and didn't want to have to wait for a long time. Now that I have turned that last page, I am looking forward to the next book out of Mr. Booth, knowing that he again will outdo himself, just as he has with BLOOD ON THE TONGUE. Until then my dreams will be full of the sights, the sounds, and the smells of the Peak District and the people who inhabit it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A newspaper and magazine journalist for over 25 years, Stephen Booth was born in the English Pennine town of Burnley. He was brought up on the coast at Blackpool, where he began his career in journalism by editing his school magazine and wrote his first 'novel' at the age of 13.

There is no easy way to commit suicide, but Marie Tennent seems to have gone out of her way to make hers as difficult and uncomfortable as possible. She just seemed to have given up the will to live and curled up in the freezing snow and stayed there until her body was covered in a layer of frost, almost making her blend in with the countryside.

Marie's body is not the only one the police have to contend with as a baby is discovered in the wreckage of an old bomber aircraft and the body of a man is dumped by the roadside. All this coming at a time when snow and ice have left half of the Division out of action and Diane fry is forced to partner DC Gavin Murfin. Fry and Ben Cooper were never going to be the dream team but Ben is her soul mate compared to Murfin.

This is just the start of another murder from the pen/word processor of the author. This psychological thriller is well written, entertaining and thrilling (well in my experience not all thrillers are). I have read several of the author's books and this is as good as any.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2008
this is the first time I have read anything by Stephen Booth and I will be looking out for more. This crime thriller spun a web of intrigue which was hard to leave to do the mundane things like eat, drink and go to work, let alone sleep, all with the most impeccable writing and characterisation. A lesson to all crime writers, this is the way to do it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 20 April 2008
This is the best in the series so far, I think. So far I have ben reading them in the right order, and while I enjoyed the first two, this one surpasses them by a mile. I did find it a little bit slow to begin with but once I got into it, I loved the mystery from the past as well as the present, it's all quite fascinating. Even though it's 600+ pages I read it in a couple of days because these books are so easy to read you just don't want to put them down. There's something very comfortable about them, they're so full of normal English settings, regular people living in typical English homes, with the odd nasty murderer thrown in for good measure.
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A newspaper and magazine journalist for over 25 years, Stephen Booth was born in the English Pennine town of Burnley. He was brought up on the coast at Blackpool, where he began his career in journalism by editing his school magazine and wrote his first 'novel' at the age of 13.

There is no easy way to commit suicide, but Marie Tennent seems to have gone out of her way to make hers as difficult and uncomfortable as possible. She just seemed to have given up the will to live and curled up in the freezing snow and stayed there until her body was covered in a layer of frost, almost making her blend in with the countryside.

Marie's body is not the only one the police have to contend with as a baby is discovered in the wreckage of an old bomber aircraft and the body of a man is dumped by the roadside. All this coming at a time when snow and ice have left half of the Division out of action and Diane fry is forced to partner DC Gavin Murfin. Fry and Ben Cooper were never going to be the dream team but Ben is her soul mate compared to Murfin.

This is just the start of another murder from the pen/word processor of the author. This psychological thriller is well written, entertaining and thrilling (well in my experience not all thrillers are). I have read several of the author's books and this is as good as any.
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on 31 May 2014
I have just finished reading this book. It was the first of the Cooper/Fry series that I had read. Although at the time of reading it, I didn't realise there were other books before this one, but now I do, the relationship between Cooper and Fry makes more sense. I have just ordered the first two books, as I really enjoyed this one. It took a few chapters to get into and usually a book had to grab me straight but there was something about it that made me want to keep reading. Had I read the previous books first I might not have found it so hard to get into. However, I'm glad I stuck with it because it was a fantastic read. I found it kept me guessing right until the very last page and although a few bits uncovered themselves the way it all linked up was just brilliantly written and left me wanting more!
I don't have any ties with the Peak District but that didn't matter. It reminded me of the Author Steve Robinson, who I love too. Certainly would recommend!
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