18th February 2019 – 4 stars.
If you like your crime character driven with an absorbing plot, then you should enjoy the first in the DC Smith series, set in Norfolk. The DC are Smith’s initials, by the way, not his rank in the police.
It all starts with what looks like an accidental death in the river. Only it’s not that simple. Enter DC Smith, like a dog with a bone, nibbling away at the evidence, casting more and more doubt on the cause of death until his unorthodox approach lands him in sinister waters.
The gentle pace and attention to detail allow the characters of DC Smith and his new recruit, Waters, to develop and drive the story along with purpose and humour. With Smith almost at the end of his career, and Waters just beginning his, they make a great team, complementing each other and teaching the other new tricks.
I never felt the story lagging and didn’t need any fireworks or thrilling chase scenes. Each time I switched on my Kindle, I enjoyed reading the story and look forward to reading more of the series.
The story opens with the apparently accidental drowning of a British sixth form student in the Norfolk countryside. As a matter of routine, or so it seems, the case passes across the desk of Detective Sergeant Smith, recently returned to work after an internal investigation into another case that has led to tensions between officers at Kings Lake police headquarters.
As an ex-Detective Chief Inspector, Smith could have retired by now, and it is clear that some of his superiors wish that he would do so. The latest trainee detective to work with him is the son of a member of his former team, and together they begin to unravel the truth about what happened to Wayne Fletcher.
As the investigation proceeds, it becomes clear that others are involved – some seem determined to prevent it, some seem to be taking too much interest. In the end Smith operates alone, having stepped too far outside standard procedures to ask for support. He knows that his own life might be at risk but he has not calculated on the life of his young assistant also being put in danger.