Dead in the Dark (Cooper and Fry) by Stephen Booth
|Dead in the Dark (Cooper and Fry) by Stephen Booth|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The 17th book in the Cooper and Fry series takes an unusual premise - proving a murder without a body, twice - and make it into a good read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400/8h57m||Date: July 2017|
|External links: Author's website|
It's ten years since Reece Bower was accused of the murder of his wife, but the case never came to trial: Annette Bower's body was never found and although a murder can be prosecuted without a body there was an added problem here. Annette's father said that he'd seen his daughter a couple of days after she'd apparently disappeared. Had Annette simply left the marriage that was in difficulties or was something more sinister going on? Then, a decade later, Reece Bower disappears without trace. His new partner wants some answers.
DI Ben Cooper is quick to recognise the problems of proving that a murder has taken place without a body and in this case he's effectively going to have to do it twice as it's clear to everyone that Reece Bower's vanishing without trace can't be separated from his wife's disappearance. Since his wife went missing Bower has found a new partner and they've had a child together, but couldn't - under the circumstances - marry. If he tried to prove that his wife was dead he would put himself under suspicion again.
DS Diane Fry, now with the major Crime Unit, can't be called on for help as it can't be proved that a murder took place, but she's deeply involved in Shirebrook, a town with what some people feel is more than its share of immigrants. She's looking at the murder of one of them, found stabbed in his flat by his landlord, who's a suspicious character himself. There's some thought-provoking content on the subject of racism and immigration with a number of characters feeling that they're under more threat from immigrants (and particularly Poles) than is actually the case. It's an elegant reflection of what's happening in the country at large.
The Derbyshire Peak district is a character itself in Dead in the Dark, with a good deal of the action taking place in Lathkilldale. The Peak District is acknowledged by Ben Cooper as beautiful on the surface but with a sense of darkness lurking underneath. The most beautiful of villages could have a sinister past and it's particularly true in Lathkilldale with its old lead mines.
The investigations being run concurrently by Cooper and Fry can be a little confusing until you get them firmly in your mind. There are no major twists in the story - it's all down to solid police work - and if you enjoy police procedurals it's a book which should appeal to you. It reads reasonably well as a standalone, but I had a sense of there being more history between some of the characters than I was aware of, so perhaps reading the books in chronological order might be advisable.
I plan on reading some of the earlier books in the series, really because the character of DI Ben Cooper appeals to me: I'm afraid that Diane Fry leaves me cold. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.
If you'd like to read the books in chronological order you'll find the list here:
You could get a free audio download of Dead in the Dark (Cooper and Fry) by Stephen Booth with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Dead in the Dark (Cooper and Fry) by Stephen Booth at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Dead in the Dark (Cooper and Fry) by Stephen Booth at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.