Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Backlash by Lynda LaPlante (thoughts)
"Late night on an estate in Hackney and a van is being driven erratically. The driver is pulled over by the police and questioned. A woman on the street after a long evening's drinking never makes it home. A suspect, an arrest, a confession, a case done and dusted?"
Backlash is my first dip into the Anna Travis' mystery series but it certainly won't be my last! This police procedural slowly pulled me into the mystery but by the end I just could not put it down. After Henry Oates is arrested for the suspected murder of a young girl, he surprisingly confesses to the murders of two other young girls. Of course, soon after his confession he begins to change his tune and claims that everything he said before was a lie. It doesn't stop the police from investigating though and that is when Anna Travis is brought in on the case.
Anna Travis was one of those main characters that I love: she has flaws and unknown motives that seem to drive her. She pays attention to the little details and pushes herself just a little bit harder than everybody else. I really liked her from the very beginning but I will admit that I feel like I missed out a bit starting in the middle of this series. There were obviously some situations that she had gone through in previous books that were still affecting her and I would have liked to know more about them. Once again this reinforces my need to read series books in order and start at the beginning. Anyways. One of the things that I liked best about this book was that the author took her time in building up the mystery. Even though we know (or had an idea of) the bad guy from early on, there was still questions and tension that were built into the story in such a way that you had to know what would happen next. This book is slow moving at times but even that really didn't take away from my reading experience. Instead, I felt that the pacing of the book allowed for me to get the chance to really connect with both the book and the characters.
Even though I ended up really enjoying this book, I feel that it would have been an even better reading experience for me if I had started with book one. I've already mentioned it but I think that the back story would have helped me to understand some of the characters better and in particular Detective Chief Superintendent James Langton. I never really connected to his character and there were times when he drove me absolutely batty. I wonder if I would have liked him more if I had read the other books in this series. I don't know the answer yet, but I will because I plan on going back to the beginning of this series soon.
Overall, I was very pleased with this book and am eager to pick up more by this author. Fans of gritty police procedurals will not want to miss this one....I'm already regretting not trying this author sooner. I loved that the author took her time with building up the tension and suspense in this book. And I really liked the way that the book ended. I can't wait to see what mystery Anna finds herself investigating next. Definitely recommended but especially to mystery lovers!
Bottom Line: A mystery that builds layer upon layer until coming to a very satisfying conclusion!
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review from the publisher as part of a TLC book tour. My thoughts are my own!