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Burned and Broken: If you like Peter James, you'll love this (Pearson and Russell) Paperback – 18 May 2017
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A feast of intrigue. (CHOICE Magazine)
Immensely impressive. (The Times)
Auspicious debut . . . finely drawn, overlapping story. (Daily Mail)
The investigation into a copper's dramatic death in downbeat Southend scoops a cast of equally downbeat characters into its net, and tensions rise as their stories fold around each other. An accomplished debut. (Sunday Times)
Emotional, intelligent, sensual & with such a strong voice, Burned & Broken by Mark Hardie is a crime debut that deserves huge success. (Harry Illingworth (@Harryillers), Goldsboro Books)
A very strong debut by someone whom I believe is going to become a household name. You heard it here first! A great story-line, with very real characters . . . Mark has created a new police partnership, with his main characters DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell: one from the dark ages of the Met, the other from the wrong side of the tracks. The partnership works really well, as you begin to empathise with the other main characters, plus Donna and Malc, a couple that you aren't likely to forget in a hurry! Read it for yourself, and then tell me that I'm wrong! (Sainsburys Entertainment, 5 stars)
Introduces a new detective duo to crime fiction and guarantees some open mouth reading. I look forward to see what he has in store for Pearson and Russell. (Woman's Way)
A cracker of a crime debut: Hardie's crime debut is a cracker with a cunningly twisted plot. (Peterborough Evening Telegraph)
A twisty, gripping novel that introduces a brilliant new detective duo. If you like TM Logan, Mark Edwards, LJ Ross, Patricia Gibney and Peter James, then you'll love this crime debut.See all Product description
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The plot is apparently straight forward enough as there are two apparently unconnected cases on the books. A young girl, who has just left the care system, investigates the death of her friend, and tries to get to the truth. The second case involves the sudden and brutal death of a police officer, who has been found in his burnt out car on the Southend seafront. The said police officer was the subject of an internal investigation for alleged misconduct at the time of his death. As the investigation continues the two cases become a whole lot more complicated with more strands to them than you could possibly imagine. The plot travels along at a gentile pace but gathers speed before ending in a tense and dramatic conclusion.
I loved most of the characters in this book. DS Frank Pearson is a man of a certain age, who has seen a lot of tragedy in both his career and his personal life. He is currently separated from his wife and they split after they faced the most tragic thing that a couple ever has to go through. I am not saying any more on that score as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. Pearson’s mother is in hospital but to be honest I don’t think that they share the closest of relationships and I got the feeling that Pearson’s mother thinks of him as a disappointment. By the end of one visit he makes to her, I wanted to jump inside the pages and give her what for. (If you haven’t already guessed I get far too involved in the story of a book). Pearson is a dedicated policeman in that he is determined to solve a case and to seek justice for the victims of crime. He also tends to bend the rules a bit. I got the impression that when Pearson investigates a case, he leaves no stone unturned and uncovers the truth no matter how ugly it might seem. DC Catherine ‘Cat’ Russell is a bit more enigmatic and I didn’t immediately warm to her. She seemed very defensive and doesn’t seem to trust anybody. She has been interviewed several times by DI Neil Ferguson, who has been investigating the dead policeman, as Cat apparently seems to have shared a (very) close relationship with the deceased. However, appearances can be very deceptive as you will find out. DI Neil Ferguson got my back up right from the start and I had a gut instinct that he was not to be trusted for reasons which will become apparent as the book continues. There were certain characters who really made me angry and I would have been quite happy if they dropped off the planet as they are guilty of the most appalling crimes. I am not going to detail the exact character names as that would be giving too much away.
I found this book to be very well written and I could not believe that it was the writer’s first book as the writing style is so very confident and polished. It’s true that a lot of detail is given regarding the outcome of the post mortem and the police investigation but I found that it was really interesting (I come from a family of nurses so I am used to such detail being talked about and I have a strong stomach). What I particularly liked was the fact that a certain injury would be given it’s technical name but then the author explained it so that non- medical people (like me) could understand it. The chapters are relatively short but written in such a way that there are ‘duff duff’ (think EastEnders) moments at the end of each chapter and you just simply have to read on. Indeed reading this book became seriously addictive and ‘Burned & Broken’ is a real ‘CPID’ (Can’t put it down) book. I read this book in just over 24 hours, which is fast for me and shows just how much I enjoyed the book. Reading this book was like riding on a rollercoaster in that there are lots of twists, turns and stomach churning moments. There were some definite turns that I was so not expecting and which sent the story down another path entirely.
In short then, I absolutely LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book and I would recommend it to anybody. I can’t wait to read more investigations led by DS Frank Pearson and DC Cat Russell. This writer is sure to go far. I award this book 5* out of 5* and I would have awarded it more stars if I could have.
It jumped from character to character, storyline to storyline, really taxing to keep up that I lost interest.
I won't be trying another Mark Hardie book.
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