Vicious Crimes by Michael Hambling

Vicious Crimes by Michael Hambling

It’s been a while since the last book in the series, so I was looking forward to reading this latest instalment. The team are back, led by DCS Sophie Allen, who’s more of a manager than an officer out in the field. Not that she misses a chance to get out there and lead from the front.

The investigation begins with a body found in the harbour by a Special Constable. The victim was beaten before being dumped in the tidal river. It looks like he was dumped upstream, but where? The second victim, an artist, lived a life of solitude in a remote house in Exmoor. The team struggle to find a motive for his murder, or a firm connection between the two.

Meanwhile, the secretive tenants of a nearby farm have a rather aggressive way of dealing with visitors.

It’s a slow investigation to start with, due to a lack of leads and motive. However, it provides an opportunity to spend more time with the main characters and their growing relationships. But once the team make some links between the victims, the investigation shifts through the gears for an exciting climax and resolution.

Like all the previous novels in the series, it’s the mix of crimes and characters that make the stories intriguing and entertaining. Sophie Allen has always been a standout character, but in this book, the supporting cast have a chance to shine.

Pitched at the cosy end of the crime fiction market, this is a perfect story and series if you’re not keen on gritty police procedurals with graphic details.


The body is found slumped on a mudbank in Watchet harbour, washed up with the incoming tide. A middle-aged man. The post-mortem reveals he was viciously beaten before ending up in the sea. But strangely his lungs are filled with fresh water.

That’s when Detective Sophie Allen of the Wessex Serious Crimes Unit is called in. She and her team end up with the tricky cases, the ones no one else can handle.

A few days later, a second body is discovered in woodland high up on Exmoor.

Then a new lead takes the case in a very personal direction for Sophie. Back to a family tragedy fifteen years before, and memories she’d prefer to leave buried forever. This could be the case that will crack her?

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