The Boy Who Fell (Inspector Tom Reynolds) by Jo Spain
|The Boy Who Fell (Inspector Tom Reynolds) by Jo Spain|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: It's the 4th book in a series but read well as a standalone. The story takes centre stage rather than the detectives, which I liked. Plotting is deft and assured and I didn't see the ending coming at all. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368/9h39m||Date: June 2019|
|External links: Author's website|
There were six friends: four men and two women. They're all about eighteen and they've known each other since they started school. Both girls - Hazel Brophy and Charlotte Burke - have been in relationships with one of the boys, but Charlotte was determined that it would not be sexual. Hazel's views were so dramatically opposite that you wondered how they could be friends. They were all partying in a derelict house when Luke Connelly was pushed to his death from a third-floor window and Daniel Konaté Jones was charged with rape and murder. Daniel was loosely associated with the group but never felt himself one of them. He didn't come from a wealthy background, is of mixed race and openly gay. Targets don't come much easier than that, except for one thing.
Daniel is the nephew of Natasha McCarthy, head of Sexual Crimes. She has the ear of DCI Tom Reynolds and she's adamant that Daniel is not, could not, be violent. It wasn't precisely within Reynolds' remit, but he's just about to be promoted and sees no reason not to have a look, even if it's only to reassure Natasha that everything has been done as it should be done. The Senior Investigating Officer on the case is Jackie McCallion and Reynolds wonders if she's become too emotionally involved with the Connolly family. It would be understandable though: Luke's twin, Ethan, is dying of acute myeloid leukaemia. The family want as little fuss as possible so that they can make Ethan's final weeks as comfortable as possible.
I've now given up saying that I try not to join established police-procedural series when they have a few books under their belt. I seem to be making a habit of it and The Boy Who Fell turned out to be a real treat. Jo Spain neatly introduces us to the police team at a social event: newcomers to the series get an idea of who is who and established readers catch up with characters they're familiar with. It was perhaps a little confusing in that some of the people we committed to memory would play little or no further part in the series, but it gives us an idea of the social pressures in Dublin, as it's acknowledged that Detective Brian Cullinane is taking a risk in bringing his partner, Jimmy, to the police ball. There's going to be a referendum about gay marriage, but the outcome is by no means certain.
Attitudes have not entirely moved on in other areas. Tom Reynolds thinks that he has a decision to make, but the reality is that he has made the decision. He just doesn't know how he's going to convey it or what the effect will be on the people involved. He has to appoint his successor - and his deputy, Ray Lennon, has every right to feel that he'll be promoted. But Reynolds has decided to promote Laura Brennan over him. Laura and Ray are about to get married. Can Ray cope with working for a woman, particularly when that woman is his wife?
There's an excellent snapshot too of a layer of Dublin society where there's wealth and position and a feeling of entitlement. Daniel is an easy scapegoat and made even more so by the fact that he won't try to defend himself. The five remaining friends have no compunction about what's happening and they're prepared to lie for themselves and for each other. Reynolds quickly learns that no one is quite what they seem. Most of the friends came off the page well, but I did have to keep referring to my notes to sort out some of the boys. It's a minor quibble though in an otherwise very good book. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For more Irish crime we can recommend The Guards by Ken Bruen.
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