Brutal Crimes by Michael Hambling

14th October 2021.

In the tenth outing for Sophie Allen of the Violent Crimes Unit in Dorset, she has to investigate the brutal murder of a fellow detective, dumped in a disused clay pit at night. Only the killers are unaware that a young girl, Amy, is in the woods watching them.

A second body in the clay pit suggests links to major crimes, involving slavery, luxury cars stolen to order and gun running. The investigation soon focuses on Middle Eastern residents, living in ‘millionaire’s row in Poole. The key is Mia, a university student, working during the summer to earn some much needed cash. What she learns puts her in danger as the police begin to unravel the mystery.

Once again, the author has written another riveting book in this memorable series. The characters and their relationships form the backbone to the story, which is a thriller rather than a whodunit. Piece by piece, the detectives pull the various strands together to solve the murders.

Perhaps best of all, is the lack of detectives trying to deal with traumas as they go about their jobs. The detectives also get on with their superiors, working together rather than the maverick style which seems to populate so many crime novels. In other words, this is a series where the characters are likeable as well as effective, providing a breath of fresh air among the formulaic crime novels publishers seem to produce these days.


Twelve-year-old Amy Birkbeck is checking her bat boxes late one cold January evening in the woods by her house.

She witnesses something no child should ever see — a group of men rolling a body into the deep pool of the disused old clay pit.

Meanwhile, DCI Sophie Allen’s team is falling apart.

One of the members of the unit goes missing. Surely he couldn’t be the body in the pool? Or is something much darker going on?

Then a second body is found in the disused clay pit. And it seems the dead man is connected to a suspected arms dealer . . .

There are dangerous goings-on in Detective Allen’s quiet patch of Dorset, and she doesn’t know who to trust.

Brutal Crimes by Michael Hambling

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