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on 3 December 2016
A complex story that involves politics and an election and privilege.

The Old Boys' Club that seems to exist amongst certain rather wealthy young men appears to encourage and support an amount of youthful high jinks that can be rather more serious in nature than just fun and games. Sometimes they include what amount to serious crimes, but that are covered up by members of the club, as (almost) part of their rights and dues for their societal positions.

In this story a crime committed long ago, in university, comes back to haunt the Club in the most macabre way.

It is the job of the police to unravel the clues and to find out just what is being hidden, by whom, and who are the guilty parties.

I enjoyed this, my first Inspector Carlyle novel. I enjoyed the writing style and the storyline set against the complications of an election and party politics.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 May 2015
I have mixed feeling about London Calling. I thought the plot idea was good and it kept me reading and I liked the way Inspector Carlyle thought about people and situations but I didn't like the flashbacks to the Inspectors younger days as I felt it disrupted the narrative flow of the present day events, didn't really add anything to the novel so seemed like padding and was quite frustrating as you only got a glimpse of a situation without any resolution.
The plot is clever - someone is killing members of the Merrion club of 25 years ago (a thinly disguised Bullingdon club) although this is not immediately apparent to the police - but extremely violent and I think a more experienced writer might have been a bit less explicit and more implicit.
I think that London Calling shows some promise as the introductory novel to the series and I will probably read book 2 to see how the series matures.
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VINE VOICEon 23 March 2012
You only get one chance to make a first impression and mine, on page one, was: too many adverbs!

Set slap bang in present-day London, with all the references to the Internet and Facebook to prove it: a pair of old-Etonian, mixed-race twins are about to win a landslide victory to take their party into power at a general election. Meanwhile, Inspector John Carlyle is going about his usual business from his base in Charing Cross.

Then, suddenly, we're back in 1984 when a young Carlyle has been sent up north to police the miners' strike. Thereafter the narrative darts back and forth, showing us the political twins on their last day at Cambridge and Carlyle turning down a colleague's offer of jumping ship and becoming a criminal.

The tone of the novel jarred with me. I'm all for a lightness of touch even -- especially? -- in crime fiction, but Craig's prose borders on the facetious which, given the opening scene in which a man has his throat cut in his own home -- the first in a series of gruesome revenge murders -- seems inappropriate. There's also, funnily enough, a (low) limit to the number of scenes of homosexual rape I want to read.

There are some nice little jokes though: a Swedish hotel employee says that he comes from Ystad and adds that it's a good place to be a policeman as nothing ever happens there. Tell that to Kurt Wallander!

The novel gives the impression of having been written with an American audience in mind: Craig uses words such a 'elevator' instead of 'lift' and seems to feel the need to explain what and where Brighton is. The banter between Carlyle and his sergeant is excruciating. In all, it felt like a first draft that needed some serious editing. Some sloppiness too: a scene clearly set in 1985 refers to the General Strike as being 80 years earlier -- something else that should have been caught by an editor.

It's an easy, breezy read but somehow lacking. I won't be buying any more.
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on 24 July 2011
Ok to start with you've probably read some of the other reviews, and there appears to be a split in terms of how good the book is.

Well, it's a solid crime story, a little graphic in places and you'll probably guess who is the serial killer before the end, but it is a good read.

DI Carlyle is a 40 something police officer, who is tasked with investigating the murder of a man found in a hotel (and yes, the murder is quite graphic). This then leads to his connections, one of which is the man who is running to become the new PM, and his brother. We also get flashbacks to Carlyle's past, seemingly suggesting he's been passed over because he's not a team player, particularly after an incident during the miners strike in the 80s.

The murders, as one would expect, drive the plot and the story line, one of which I did find comical, if a little grusome.

There are also references which are aimed at the over 40s, who remember ther 80s, music and films are both listed, and I think that is to bring back memories for those from that era. To some extent, it does work.

An intersting debut novel, which is well worth the time, if you can deal with some graphic scenes dealing with sex and murder (and sometimes both at the same time! Sort of like Basic Instinct (ish)).
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on 10 September 2012
The first Inspector Carlyle book and I don't know if I will bother with any sequels. Too much graphic male rape detail and I am bored with detectives that have a chip on both shoulders. Basically this book is set during a general election when one of the main protagonists and his equally obnoxious little brother are "bound" to win. Then members of a club they were both members of in University begin to be killed. After the whole club raping an innocent student he then throws himself over the balcony and commits suicide in front of his fiancee who is pregnant with his child. There are too many flashbacks to the miners strike of the 80s which I found to be distracting. The ending I thought was particularly weak with too many loose ends. Not one for me.
2 people found this helpful
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on 9 November 2011
Since receiving my wonderful Kindle last year I have taken advantage of some of the cheaper crime thriller titles and have come across a whole new bank of authors; James Craig being one of them. I love British crime/police novels and quite enjoyed this first Inspector Carlyle outing. I almost 'switched off' after a few pages because of the inaccuracy regarding PCSOs who are definitely not volunteers as stated by Mr Craig (and in my view do a brilliant job within the community); however I carried on reading and did enjoy the tale although I did find it a bit sensational in places. The author almost invites you into trying to decide whether this character is a good copper or not and I think I shall certainly have to read the next book to see how this pans out.
One person found this helpful
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 November 2012
A very gritty and cleverly plotted murder story set in and around Westminster in the run up to a general election.
The principal character is the disaffected DI Carlyle. While the disgruntled loner at odds with authority is hardly a new model for a fictional copper, it works here, and he is entirely convincing. The settings were very well captured too, and I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of City of London School for Girls and Grodzinski's bakery, both of which I recognised as accurate!
It seems as though this is merely the first in a series of novels featuring Detective Inspector Carlyle, and I look forward to it's successors..
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on 24 September 2012
I read this on holiday and I was somewhat taken aback at the very graphic sex scene at the beginning. As the book unfolded you could see where he based his characters on. MP brothers; flamboyant Mayor London; MP who cycles to work, gets his bike stolen and miraculously gets it back, ring any bells with any one. The plot was weak, lazy and sloppy. I found Carlyle wish washy and his obsession with coffee and pastries, particularly cutting them into quarters, extremely boring. Stories were left hanging, what did happen to Carlyle when he was dragged away by the rogue policeman? The end was totally inconclusive.
2 people found this helpful
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on 25 March 2013
...if you don't mind swearing and sex. I certainly don't, didn't think it was at all gratuitious or titillating, and thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Some reveiwers seem to be advocating warnings on the front of books, or an age certification-type rating, similar to those we use for films because their sensibilities have been offended. I think that would be a big shame.

I don't tend to read reveiws until after I've read a book because of the potential for spoilers, and the fact taht I prefer to make up my own mind. I do like to read reviews afterwards, though. I was amazed at the 1, 2 and 3 tar reviews, but on reading tem, realised that they were mostly so low becaue people are offended by the sex scenes.
2 people found this helpful
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on 30 January 2013
I wanted to like this book and, unlike some of the other negative reviewers, read it to the end. I kept thinking that it would pick any minute and justify the effort but it didn't. Like some of the other reviewers I have a problem with authors that get nasty in order to seem gritty and realistic. It doesn't work.

This book relies quite heavily on sex as a primary motivator of many of the protagonists. This is not a problem for me as a rule but the constantly repeated themes within the sex scenes eventually started to grate. Realistic sex requires more than a couple of unpleasant details repeated ad nauseum to bring it to life. In a book that relies so heavily on the sex scenes it eventually becomes confusing. Why are such disparate people all into the same thing? Why do they all notice the same details about their partners? I found that I was getting characters confused with each other.

I did like the underlying concept of the book but it was swamped and eventually lost in a mess of themes and unecessary distractions.
One person found this helpful
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