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on 9 April 2017
This was my first Inspector Drake encounter, although I'm familiar with Stephen Puleston's Cardiff based detective.

The north Wales locations and culture seeping in gave it a unique and enjoyable slant, and I enjoyed meeting Ian Drake and his colleagues. The complexities of his character and the inevitable police politics and procedures, alongside an insight into his family life kept me as interested in him as I was in discovering the original killer. The plot twisted and turned as much as the country roads DI Drake hurtles along in his very clean car, and finding the baddies almost became just an aside of the story for me, especially as even more characters-cum-suspects were intorduced towards the end of the story.

However, I found myself caring about Drake in particular, and whilst wincing at his aversion to facing up to his own difficulties, I was left extremely pleased for both him and his team when they wrapped things up.

I'm also extremely keen to know more about him and how he deals with the next bridges in his life, both personal and professional, and look forward to the next instalment.
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on 6 August 2017
A fast paced crime story, laced with red herrings to keep the reader, and the police, guessing. An entertaining read.
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on 1 June 2017
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on 14 February 2016
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I first met Detective Inspector Ian Drake in Stephen Puleston's first book, 'Brass In Pocket'. This is an extraordinary series featuring the beautiful country of North Wales, and the singular obsessive DI Ian Drake. This is a man with severe OCD, Obsessive Complusive Disease, that interferes with Drake's job. He works with the north Wales Police Force. His colleague Caren Waits has a habit of swirling her tea in her mouth and taking loud gulps of said tea, that annoys Drake immensely. She lives on a farm, and he often fears she brings unknown specks on her boots into his 'clean as a whistle' car. He notes his colleagues, slovenly, in his mind, apparel. And, after awhile their habits became annoying to me. His wife, Sian, is a physician, and she has become the caretaker to their two girls because as she complains, Ian is hardly ever home. His OCD and his work has taken him away from his family. As the novel proceeds, we realize just how much Ian Drake's life is ruled by his obsessions.

A ferry has left Dublin, and a dead man is found on this ship. Thus the novel begins, and as we find out, we have far to go. DI Drake runs a very tight ship, so to speak, he notices everything, runs minutiae over and over in his mind, and with the three officers in his group, Caren, Winder and Howick, they have a great deal of work ahead. Drake is a tough task master, and he pushes them. He works as hard as they do, all the time wondering if they note his peculiarities. This is a difficult case with few clues until one of Drake's relatives, just out of prison, let's him know in an aside conversation, that the murder was drug related. Drake can't run on that information, but it plays in his mind.

This investigation leads to many places, and each clue leads to others. All the while, DI Drake is trying to deal with his obsessions, seek counseling, keep his marriage intact, spend time with his dad who is ill, and keep his new boss out of his hair. Just as we think we know where this investigation is leading, it changes course. One of the more interesting aspects of DI Drake is his ritual in coffee making. Hot water at a certain degree, good coffee steeped for a certain set of minutes, and then drunk. His colleague's eating habits, lunch grabbed in the cafeteria, candy bars and, always pastries of some sort, with the sugar left circling their mouths. After reading this series, I am starting to watch the eating and personal habits of others. I know OCD is not contagious, but, I have found some strange things out there!

The writing is first rate, the police/procedural/mystery brings us the same sort of crimes we would find anywhere. However, this series introduces us to a country we might never visit except in books and film, and the story lines always keep us on the tip of our toes. It is difficult to put this book down after you have started.

Highly Recommended. prisrob 01-31-14
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on 9 August 2017
The ferry from Dublin to Holyhead in Wales is arriving on schedule, one of its three daily round-trip runs. It’s bringing trucks, cars, passengers – and this time, a murder victim. One of the ferry engineers was found dead in the car park section of the boat, a place he shouldn’t have been under normal circumstances.

Detective Inspector Ian Drake with the Wales Police Service is called from a boring training seminar, and undertakes the case with Detective Sergeant Caren Waits. What they will eventually uncover in “Worse Than Dead” by Stephen Puleston is far more complicated – and criminally endemic in the local community – than a single murder.

This is the second of three Inspector Drake novels written by Puleston (he’s also written two novels in the Inspector Marco novels, set in southern Wales). Trained as lawyer, Puleston brings a wealth of understanding of criminal law (and police procedure) into these stories.

With Drake, Puleston has drawn a rather unexpected kind of police detective. He drives fast, often very fast when he can get away with it. He works Sudoku puzzles incessantly, and often needs to logic of solving them to start his work day. He’s also rather neurotic about cleanliness and order, whether it’s a car interior, his desk, or the fast food that passes for nourishment in a police station. Drake also listens to popular music, and some of the songs of Bruce Springsteen are featured in this novel.

But it’s his obsession with order and logic – and a bit of luck – that ultimately drives Drake and his team to solving their crimes, and especially this one. Bodies begin to multiply, and it becomes clear that powerful men with much to lose financially are trying to take care of loose ends.

“Worse Than Dead” is every bit as good as the first Inspector Drake story, “Brass in Pocket.”
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on 13 February 2014
I received this book free to read and review.
If you like the all action police stories this is not for you as it is a slow paced novel which has as much strength in the characters as the plot. The plot is good and starts with a simple premise that the name of the killer is known as it must have been someone on the ferry the problem is it could have been any of the crew or passengers. After this it becomes a bit more complicated, it all works out in the end after a number of loose ends and red herrings. I also liked the Welsh setting which I thought the novel brought vividly to life. The characters were well developed and had the right balance between personal influences and the work of a detective.
A good interesting read which although slow paced was intriguing as I was drawn into the story and wanted to know what happened next. I have read the previous book in the series Brass in Pocket (Inspector Drake 1) (Inspector Drake Mysteries) and will read any more that are published.
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on 26 May 2017
Very good.
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on 27 February 2014
As a Welsh man I bought this book because I knew the various locations but I found Drake's obsessive compulsive behaviour irritating after the first few chapters. Having read the first book I was hoping the author would have moved on from relating this behaviour every few pages. I finished the book bu it's farewell to Drake for me.
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Set in North Wales and commencing with discovery of a body on a ferry docking at Holyhead ‘Worse Than Dead’ is a second Detective Inspector Drake police procedural novel. However it is anti-procedural matters that give the story an edge over more traditional narratives – including Drake’s clashes over ferry company procedures and police requirements to search the ship, shortcutting across officious demands from his temporary superior officer, off-the-record dealings with his criminal cousin, antagonism between his investigations and work of drug squad officers etc.

Characters are well developed, particularly Drake himself who comes up against yet more broken protocols with police and government. As a Su-Doku obsessive he tussles with code letters and numbers left by the murder victim, he struggles with difficult family relationships, and he is receiving counselling from a previous situation, and he seems to put himself under pressure with personal foibles and rituals. For a murder mystery the identity of the killer is known from the start – surely it is someone on the ferry! Action soon spreads with the search for clues and evidence spilling over to involve an increasing number of individuals and organisations – and there are more murders. As complexities arise the storyline increases in tempo with an ever expanding web of intrigue. Narrative becomes somewhat convoluted, and readers may be left with mixed feelings at the conclusion.
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