A Darker Night by P J Brooke
|A Darker Night by P J Brooke|
|Reviewer: Louise Laurie|
|Summary: Set in hot and sultry Spain, a police officer is asked to investigate a suspicious death. As Sub-Inspector Max Romero digs deep, he doesn't like what he finds: the plot thickens and the web of suspects increases.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: July 2010|
|External links: Author's website|
The location is the beautiful and historic city of Granada. The husband-and-wife writing duo, aka P J Brooke, impart their knowledge of this area to the reader almost straight away. The hot and dusty terrain is described in detail, along with some tempting snippets of local history; for example, some of the locals still choose to live in old cave houses. Very primitive living indeed, as you can imagine. And one inhabitant, a gypsy, is found dead. As his cave is so bare and sparse there's not too much evidence for Sub-Inspector Romero to go on. But, he does find something of interest...
And from here the plot thickens nicely. All manner of family members, neighbours and people in the wider community are questioned. Nothing appears to be forthcoming. The general view is that he probably choked on his own vomit after having one drink too many. He was an ex-con after all, what do you expect? Case firmly closed. Or is it?
The reader is left in no doubt that corruption is happening in the area. Many locals are lining their pockets and many more are simply turning a blind eye. On the whole, the locals are portrayed as laid-back, devil-may-care, tomorrow's-another-day people. Add in lots of lovely mentions of the local food and wine; plenty of al fresco meals and it's all rather heavenly. Save for the crime, of course. The Brookes also add the odd Spanish word which enhances the atmosphere. The names are also suitably exotic, no plain Janes here. But - and it's a big but - gradually some of these local people start to show their less attractive side.
The story is told in neat, rather matter-of-fact language. Very easy to read. In fact, it struck me at times that parts this book have a charming, old-fashioned quality so that when I suddenly came across a swear word - I almost flinched. But the subject matter and plot are modern and bang up to date.
We find out at Paco, the man who died in his cave, had a history. He didn't get on with some members of his extended family. Why? And by degrees the story unfolds. Shady property dealings, dodgy accounting and much more rear their ugly heads. Bulldozers, residential blocks, derelict farmhouses all feature in the mix. It seems as if it's one big tussle between past and present. As one local succinctly put it Enjoy it while you can. In ten years, every square inch of this coast will be covered in concrete.
However, Romero is a methodical and dedicated operator. (He even makes out lists so that he won't forget a single thing). He becomes involved with various interesting characters, both male and female. And one female in particular catches his eye...
This novel is a good, solid story with interesting characters set in a beautiful part of Spain. Recommended.
My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.
If you enjoy A Darker Night, you'll also love Bloodprint by Kitty Sewell.
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You can read more book reviews or buy A Darker Night by P J Brooke at Amazon.com.
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