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on 30 September 2012
I gave her three tries, the first one was good the second one wasn't but I thought, well she might be having a bad day but no - after reading this - no more La Plante for me.

This was a fairly involved and gripping story and it says a lot for the storytelling skill of the writer that I stuck with it. It was over five hundred pages and quite honestly I think that the story occupied about 300 the rest was padding, repetition, info dumping and ranting about the criminal justice system, the probation service and illegal immigrants. Although much of this may be valid comment I don't think that it is honest to put so much into a work of fiction and push it at the reader.

Apart from all of that the editing was definitely flaky, there were missing words, words that should have been edited out and at one point we jumped from one setting to another without any of the characters moving a muscle - voodoo perhaps!? I would have thought that with the team at her disposal Ms La Plante would have ensured that the editing was spot on.

What a shame.
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on 13 July 2016
Having read a lot of long running series by different authors, I have noticed that at some point in the series - usually around the third or fourth book - the author will change things a little - the main character's personality will suddenly change or new characters will be introduced that haven't been mentioned before - presumably this is to keep our interest and help keep the series going. Unfortunately when this happens, it isn't always for the better.

I mention this because this is the third book in the Anna Travis series and I noticed a definite change in this book to the other two in the series. Whereas the other two books in the series tended to focus on one case with Anna working with her boss and on/off boyfriend, James Langton, as well as other characters who have become familiar like Barolli and Mike Lewis, this book starts off completely differently. The relationship with James which was very much on at the end of book 2 is now more or less off at the beginning of book 3 and Anna is working on a completely different case to James with other police officers who we have not met before.

The story itself I found difficult to follow, there were a lot of characters in the story and I found myself constantly getting confused as to who was whom amongst the bad guys. It tended to waffle on a bit as well, a lot of the book was taken up with James and Anna's relationship after James is attacked and quite frankly, it was a relief to reach the end of the book.

Hopefully this is just a one off and the next one I read will be better again, but I have to say I will not bother to read this one again. Disappointing.
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on 3 November 2017
This is the 3rd book in the Anna Travis series by author Lynda La Plante. If you have not yet started this series I would suggest you read the books in order to get the full benefit of the building relationships and back stories.
Anna and her boss, James are now having an affair and he is spending more and more time at Anna's flat. Things take a turn for the worse when James is injured while arresting a suspect in the murder of a young prostitute, resulting with him becoming a very difficult patient and this does not help their relationship. Both Anna Travis and James Langton are working on separate murder cases but this changes when a connection is discovered unearthing a underworld of refugees, illegal immigrants, drugs and underworld crime.
This could work as a stand alone but far better to be read in order.
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on 4 April 2017
After the first two Anna Travis novels, Clean Cut is a step down in turns of quality.
Rather than a shortage of ideas we have the exact opposite - there is so much going on here that the author could have written two gripping books instead of this rather muddled one.
The author seems aware of this as there are quite a few scenes where we have the plot and characters explained to us - and thank goodness because a few times I became totally lost as to which thread I was following.
It's well written, characters are well drawn and there a few classic La Plante moments which stick in the mind - but as a whole, it was just too much for one novel.
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on 30 May 2014
I've greatly enjoyed reading most of the Anna Travis series, albeit out of sequence. Yes, La Plante's style is unique, reading more like a draft screenplay than a novel, but my god she knows how to build tension and keep the reader turning pages.

Which is what made this book all the more disappointing. Frankly there's a shortage of plot development - despite a series of serious linked crimes, nothing much seems to happen for chapters on end. There is a ridiculously large and confusing palette of interlinked characters, and a weird, convoluted and seemingly pointless sub-plot involving voodoo.

But that's not the end of this novel's problems - La Plante seems determined to make Langton appear a cruel bully, and Travis a doormat, without quite understanding how much that undermines our sympathy with these key characters. All very odd.

And the book is also punctuated by repeated tirades about immigration and alleged systematic undue lenience in the criminal justice system, which read like a rant lifted straight from the Daily Express. You don't have to be a Guardian reader to find this unnecessary, unpleasant and rather boring..... especially when few readers will have missed what La Plante seems blind to - that her version of the Met, policing a multi-cultural city, is 99% white.
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on 23 April 2014
British cop thriller investigating multiple murders, people and drug trafficking and assorted grimness. DCI Langton leads the team of detectives as the bodies roll in. Including very nearly his own - as he goes to make an arrest, he is carved up with a machete. The main character though, is DI Anna Travis - Langton's lover and colleague. She nurses him through his recovery, she is part of the team that investigates the links until they are in a position to arrest Mr Big.

Very different from the US police procedurals I've been reading, where it tends to be one detective on his own hunting down the baddies. This is very much a team effort, even thown DI Travis keeps her own counsel - and i get the feeling that the author is planning a sequel.
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on 24 April 2014
I have general problem with the Anna/Langton relationship in that I really want her to ditch him and stop wrecking her professional and personal life. That in itself is testimony to how fully rounded these two characters are - annoyingly real. Their relationship is one of the themes of the book, with the plot of a particularly unpleasant but very bitsy killing spree under- and overlying it. The themes are meant to complement it each but, a bit like Anna & Langton, they don't actually get together all that well. It's aiming for realism in the crimes, but doesn't quite make it, especially in the body count. Dropping a death or two would have made the plot hang together a bit better. It's not a feel-good book, but it's obviously not meant to be - very much in the 'police officers' lives suck' mode.
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on 13 April 2014
My first Lynda La Plante novel. Well written as I'd expect from an experienced author. But she tries to tap into social fears around immigration, the legal system, human rights, etc. in a constant and, in my own opinion, cheap way. The result is that it feels like I'm reading a copy of the daily mail. If you are a fan of being fed fearmongering then you'll lap up this novel but, for me, it lacks any kind of intellectual depth. I shan't be reading La Plante again and I returned this book for a refund.
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on 23 December 2017
I would suggest reading this series in order to understand the relationship between Anna Travis and James Langton. Clean cut was an ok read, horrible crimes and the plot twisted and turned: maybe over complex at times. I didn't enjoy this as much as the first two in the series: I found the relationship between Travis and Langton becoming bit tedious and felt it detracted from the plot. By the end I was thoroughly fed up with them. Personally, if I hadn't already purchased Deadly Intent (the next in the series) I wouldn't bother after this.
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on 17 August 2014
I really enjoyed the first of these Anna Travis books but was a bit disappointed by the second. This third book in the series was a total let down for me. I found the plot very confusing and the so called detective work a total let down. Once again they had to rely on a member of the public to find the criminal for them, in this case an eleven year old kid! I found the story laboured on for far too long and could have been reduced by about a third of it's length by getting rid of all the padding. No more Anna Travis for me I'm afraid.
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