Black Dog (Cooper and Fry Crime Series, Book 1) Paperback – 2 May 2000
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Stephen Booth's first novel Black Dog is an impressive portrait of two sorts of policing. Ben is a local man who knows everybody and perhap scares too much, while Diane is a stranger wherever she goes and is perhaps too cold-blooded; when they find themselves rivals for promotion, and colleagues on a difficult case, breaking strain is going to be reached sooner or later. Spoiled, young Laura Vernon is missing, soon to be found dead, and the question soon arises: is she only, or even, the first? Retired quarryman Harry found the body and perhaps knows more than he is letting on, but he will do anything rather than tell the police more than he has to. The Vernons' gardener is missing, a thuggish young man rather too fond of showing off his muscles--what does he know? What went on at the Vernons' smart cocktail parties and what do Harry and his friends talk about over their beer in the pub? This is an ingenious dark little mystery in which there may be solutions to problems, but no cures; Ben and Diane are two of the more interestingly flawed young cops of recent crime fiction. --Roz Kaveney
"The Boston Globe "Black Dog skillfully renders the small-village atmosphere of England's Peak District quite effectively while weaving a good puzzle into local custom....[Booth's] sense of smell and sound is a gift. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The story is well-crafted and perfectly paced. The dramatic setting of the Peak District, and the dynamics of the relationship between Ben Cooper and Diane Fry (two constables working on the case) serve to compliment the central storyline - that of the murder of wealthy teenager, Laura Vernon.
A number of murder suspects are amassed throughout the course of the novel, and there are a number of twists along the way. The style of writing is simplistic, yet taut - and the timing is excellent.
The only reason I am not awarding this book 5 stars is down to a personal feeling that the ending was a little disappointing. I think the revelation of the murderer was done well, but there were not enough hints to their identity and I couldn't help but feel the criminal should have been someone else!
In summary, this is an absorbing and well-written murder mystery, and whilst I did feel a little let-down at the end, it was an impressive debut nonetheless.
Black Dog is one of the most amazing books that I have read in a very long time.
Stephen Booth's characters come alive on the first page and only get better as you go through the book to the last page. He actually takes you through the entire story making you feel as if you are there. And the people are real.
Laura Vernon is missing. An innocent, well liked, quiet, and well mannered 15 year old girl, according to some. To others, who seemed to know her better, quite wild.
As the helicopters fly overhead, and the police look desperately for this young girl, an old man sits on a rock, at the edge of the dark woods of England's brooding Peak District, watching and listening to the activity overhead. Suddenly his black Labrador, Jess, comes running up with something in her mouth.
From this minute on you will not be able to put this book down. The object that Jess retrieves takes you into the lives of everyone in the village. Secrets are divulged that have been hidden for years. Just when you figure you have this whole story figured out, you are led down another path. And then another.
Stephen Booth has written a story that will grab you, and not let you go. The only thing bad about this book is that you don't want it to end. You want to know more about the people, their lives and what will happen to them. You will defiantly have "The black dog's on your back". And you will not want it any other way.
Susan Hartigan Riverside, California USA
The beginning of the book is very reminiscent of Val McDermid’s A Place of Execution. A young girl is missing from a small rural community. The locals are not particularly helpful with the police. The detectives working on the case are young with their eyes cast to furthering their career.
Mystery not only surrounds the murder of Laura Vernon, it surrounds many of the characters in the book. DC Ben Cooper is dealing with his mother’s schizophrenia; Diane Fry has just arrived in Edendale and has brought personal problems of her own. Laura Vernon’s parents are both harbouring secrets that they are keen not to let out and Harry Dickenson, the man who found Laura, is being very close-lipped as well. Even Laura Vernon herself was leading a secret life that would have shocked her parents had they found out.
The surrounding Derbyshire countryside of the beautiful Peak District is described with exceptional clarity giving us an insight into countryside that must be simply breathtaking to behold. The local folk are portrayed as friendly, yet reserved when it comes to dealing with outsiders.
A little humour is provided throughout by three old Derbyshire gents who have been friends for over sixty years. Together they make wry observations to one another and always seem to watch others with a sardonic eye.Read more ›
The characters, plot and background all draw you into the story. Fans of writers such as Anne Cleeves, Elly Griffiths, etc. will enjoy this.
I've already downloaded the second in the series!
Perhaps, the two chief characters were a little too self-conciously created as diametric opposites but a good foundation was laid for future episodes involving them and both were becoming more well-rounded by the end of the book.
There were enough red herrings to satisfy most mystery lovers although the end did seem a faint "cheat". My only real criticism is that all (as opposed to some) of the characters seemed to be holding their cards very close to their chests whether or not there was any real reason for their secretiveness. On the basis of this first effort, I will certainly be trying the others in the series.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
After I read the second book by this author I decided I just had to start from book one and read all the Cooper and Fry books in order. They are brilliant.Published 1 month ago by Ms. W. Goodman
Very pleased with everything reading it second time around......Published 1 month ago by kathleen barnes
Top notch read, really atmospheric and descriptive. Interesting characters and an immersive story.
Quite old fashioned in style, more along the lines of Morse/Frost than... Read more
Mixed feelings about this book. It felt over-long even though the plot was interesting and had enough red herrings to keep me guessing until the end. Read morePublished 3 months ago by HollyMolly
I liked the characters - they were genuine and well defined. I also enjoyed the plot but my only criticism would be that it moved too slowly. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mr. J. J. Barker