A sniper is killing cops on the beat. When one is killed in Bath, Peter Diamond becomes involved only to find he's supposed to be working with Superintendent Jack Gull from the specialist unit which is investigating previous shootings. Diamond prefers to follow his own hunches but finds Gull isn't too keen on listening to him and is always out to score points when lines of enquiry prove fruitless.
I thought this was a tense and well plotted story with many red herrings and plenty of suspects for the reader to try and eliminate. Ingebourg - reporter turned detective - is also much to the fore with her knowledge of the internet and computers in general. I thought the author brought all the characters to life - especially the relationships between them. It makes a change to have detectives who are not battling huge personal problems as well as trying to do their jobs. It enables the reader to concentrate on the crime rather than the detectives themselves.
If you like your crime novels without too much violence then try Peter Lovesey's Peter Diamond series - they are entertaining reading with well constructed plots and interesting backgrounds.
on 5 July 2012
A return to mid-season form for Peter Lovesey following last year's weak offering "Stagestruck".
The novel opens with uniformed constable Harry Tasker being shot dead as he completes his rounds in the early hours of Sunday morning. This is the third such killing of a policeman in the local area and passions are riding high. Lovesey's no-nonsense detective, Superintendent Peter Diamond, who heads the local Manvers Street nick (the station at which PC Tasker was based) takes over the investigation, only to ind himself fighting a turf war over jurisdiction with Superintendent Jack Gull from the Regional Serial Crimes Unit.
Lovesey weaves a tight and compelling plot and, as usual, takes the opportunity to impart much of his extensive local knowledge. diamond is as brash as ever, though such is the extent of Gull's gungho approach that Diamond appears almost a paragon of sensitivity.
on 18 February 2015
This is a brisk little thriller, which deals with the assassination of three Somerset Policemen by an unknown gunman, and the efforts of their colleagues to find him. It's difficult to say more about the plot without giving it away, so I'll just confine myself to remarks about the book.
The first thing that struck me, in a most favourable way, is the fact that Lovesey doesn't waste time trying to describe the physical appearance of any of his characters. I don't know about you, but when I start reading a book and am introduced to the characters, I pretty quickly form my own image of them, irrespective of the author's description, and resent it when the author starts giving a minute description of them. For instance, if the author describes someone as having (say) "bulging, frog-like eyes", I will immediately visualise either the late Tory MP John Biffen, or Mr. Toad from Toad of Toad Hall, literally a frog dressed up in a human costume. This is annoying (P.D. James and Rose Tremain are among the worst offenders, though I otherwise enjoy their work), and I have to spend time clearing the author's unwanted image from my mind before I can establish my own picture of the character. Lovesey doesn't do this, except for the briefest hint ("thick black hair", for instance, which is fine). Instead, he does the reader the compliment of being able to visualise the character him/herself, which makes a refreshing and commendable change.
As for the plot, I felt there was a bit too much time spent on the various red herring elements (though I suspect that this reflects the reality of Police detective work, so probably lends authenticity to the work), but overall I found it engaging, well-written and enjoyable. I also like the fact that it's located in and around Bath - I like localism, especially when, as with other writers who use a specific locale for their work, such as Belinda Bauer with her Devon settings, you can see that the location is authentic and reflects a writer's real interest in, and knowledge of, the area. Yes, everyone, there is more to Britain than London.
Anyway, I'm glad to have been able to get that bit about character description off my chest, it's been annoying me for a long time. Thank you, Mr. Lovesey, for that, and for a good, well-written read with a satisfying ending. I'll keep an eye out for more Peter Diamond novels.
I've liked other books in this series more.
The solidarity of the police team in Bath is shaken by the possibility that either a police officer is killing police, picking them off with a rifle, or that a police officer was on the take from minor criminals, or both.
Diamond, the main character, comes across as rather daft for twice getting a suit and shoes ruined by wearing them to outdoor assignments where much searching of woodland, riverbanks and gravel was involved. He must have had other clothes and it doesn't make the specialist firearms team respect him.
There is some circuitous rambling about hobby horses, a local custom, and I've already forgotten the outcome of that line. There is a far-too-wordy woman's blog with every word shown to us. Actually, after a few paragraphs we don't read it. You would not sit reading this boring material if it was an unknown woman's blog you'd stumbled across on line. The motive for posting it is not stated clearly at the outset and the many pages of the several instalments just come across as padding. We let a character read it and report her findings to us.
What I did find good was the representation of the work of the firearms officers, the crime scene unit forensics and local details.
on 15 April 2012
The shooting of a third cop in the Bath area gives the title of the book and brings the Peter Diamond series back to it's darker recesses rather than the almost cosy style of the last one, Stagestruck'. This is Diamond at his best. Brave and burly, perhaps more liked and admired by his colleagues than in previous books (where he tended to be a loner). He and his colourful colleagues set out to trap the gunman in possibly the longest forest siege in history, or perhaps it just felt that way.
There is less of his boss ACC Georgina in this series but the comedy this time is provided by the foul mouthed CS Gull brought in from Head Office to coordinate the killing of the 3 cops. He and Diamond enjoy a healthy exchange of words and they try to out-wit each other which lightens what could be a very heavy read. Diamond is at his best when he is flouting authority and slightly out on a limb.
The blog included in the story-telling felt a little out of place and at first, I thought it was a publisher's error - that they had included some pages from another book by mistake. To Lovesey's credit he did make the writing style different to his own, something many authors fail to achieve when they include other material in their books - i.e. extracts from diaries or written confessions where despite being written by a character from the book sound remarkably like the author. Well, this did not read in the Lovesey style, so that worked but I would say it was a distraction too much.
Red herrings and pointers abound in this story so the ending is very satisfying but as with Stagestruck, I am seriously thinking of calling the RSPCA if Diamond doesn't start looking after his cat, Raffles, better!
on 21 March 2013
Someone is shooting PCs on the beat, and with one of the shootings taking place on his Bath patch Peter Diamond refuses to be sidelined despite the involvement of the Serial Crimes Unit.
Peter Lovesey is on top form. The book is full of plausible distractions, and as ever Diamond is not afraid to consider unlikely or unpopular angles. We'd all like to be a fearless investigator; Lovesey manages to portray Diamond with just enough humour to prevent him coming across as the bully we wouldn't wish to be. Most of all though the writing is such that the reader is carried along effortlessly in their quest to find out how the investigation develops, who is guilty, and why.
on 9 February 2013
If you haven't yet met Peter Lovesey's detective Peter Diamond then I would suggest reading the series in order, as Diamond's life in both the police and at home develops through the series.
I've loved most of the previous Diamond novels and, although I enjoyed this one, I didn't like it quite as much as most I've read. I think it was because I didn't really feel the plot held together properly - one or two of the motives were unfeasible and Diamond's solving of the case owed too much to luck rather than his usual clever deduction.
However I read it in two days, so it obviously had a certain unputdownable quality!
I have enjoyed many of the author's Peter Diamond novels. In Diamond he has created a character with just enough personal information to make him believable without burdening stories with excessive details to slow-down the narrative. Cop to Corpse has a very different feel to Lovesey's previous book, Stagestruck, which was full of humour and whose players verged on caricatures. The new book is darker, more serious and realistic. It's a complicated story with several suspects, red herrings and unsuccessful lines of inquiry. The final denouement was a surprise, the evidence for which I didn't feel had been adequately embedded in the narrative. Revealing the perpetrator(s) never matters much for me as I don't try to detect whodunit and enjoy this kind of book for the journey.
on 11 December 2013
I don't understand why so many reviewers didn't like the previous Peter Diamond story - Stagestruck - which I thought was one of the best and found it difficult to put down
This one, on the other hand, is slow, but a good enough plot, completely ruined by the need to have a character whose every other word is the 'f'word. I do hope this is not going to be a trend in Peter Lovesey's books in future, or I shall have to abandon him as one of my favourite authors