RogerBW's Blog

No Time to Cry, James Oswald 18 October 2020

2018 contemporary thriller, first in a new series. DC Constance Fairchild goes to a meeting with an undercover officer, only to find he's been tortured and shot. And her superiors are determined to prove that she's the corrupt cop who did it.

So while there's still a police background this is mostly a lone hero story; and there's disappointingly little uncertainty about who's ultimately responsible, even if the structure of what's going on is slightly less obvious. (It is assumed that the only reason a rich corrupt man would not want his missing daughter looked for is that she's got something on him; to me the more obvious explanation would be that a bigger and more competent criminal has taken her to use as leverage.)

That said, the writing's solid, the people are interesting, and if the plot is mostly there as an excuse to move Con from scene to scene at least the scenes are interesting when she gets there. This isn't just a copy of Oswald's McLean series: Con is a very different sort of person, and while there's the possibility of a supernatural presence nothing happens here that wouldn't be readily explicable by conventional means. There's a harder and somewhat nastier voice here than in the Scottish books, and while I think I still prefer those it's very effective.

It's good, but… sometimes overblown? There's some of the same feeling I got from Who Killed Sherlock Holmes, that all the crap is being piled onto Constance, everyone is out to get her, and while I'm happy to see a protagonist persevering through adversity there are times when this seems like just a bit too much for her plausibly to overcome. The other minor problem for me is that, as someone who's lived in London, it comes across here merely as any large urban area rather than having its own personality.

None of this is going to stop me reading the next one.

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Series: Constance Fairchild | Next in series: Nothing to Hide

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