Into Dust by Jonathan Lewis
|Into Dust by Jonathan Lewis|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Louise Laurie|
|Summary: DCI Bale has just witnessed a murder. A bomb has killed a high-profile politician, the Minister of Defence no less and it's Bale's unenviable job to find out who did this - and why?|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: September 2011|
The front cover graphics leave the reader in no doubt that this is a thriller and the blurb on the back cover mentions the troubles in Afghanistan, deadly bombs, sniffer dogs, so the theme here is bang up to-date and many would possibly say, relevant.
Lewis gives his readers a cracking sentence to open with - The man lay motionless in the grass, waiting to kill. My shoulders did do a tiny slump as I'm thinking that perhaps this book is a masculine read. But I was proved wrong very early on. Lewis's terrific storytelling drew me in right from the first page. DCI Ned Bale is off duty and driving through the Brecon Beacons when all of a sudden he sees, first-hand, a murder being committed. The cold-blooded murder of the Minister of Defence plus two others. Why?
Ned's police detective instincts kick in quickly - but not quickly enough, apparently. The killer - or killers get clean away. So they are clever as well as being callous and ruthless. It was a car bomb. Ned is there at the gruesome scene, almost gagging as bits of bodies lie all over the ground. This type of bad news will leak out very quickly. How could you possibly keep it secret? And soon roads are cordoned off, helicopter landing areas quickly established and the local police force have a massive hunt on their hands. But are they up to the job? Ned is known to his colleagues and superiors as an intelligent DCI who is more than capable of thinking outside the box. But what about his colleagues on the investigating team?
As the police investigation gets underway, there's some terrific dialogue. Natural, down-to-earth and even the odd joke or two. The deceased minister was an ex-soldier and generally highly-regarded. He was perhaps the most respected Defence Minister since Denis Healey. So who would want him out of the way - permanently and why? Equally important and puzzling is just how the dickens the criminal(s) managed to avoid setting off sensitive and highly sophisticated surveillance?
Some of the secondary characters are first-class too: Jan Span, Doc Bones, Fatso - but my favourite by a mile was a chap called Extra Bilge (nickname of course). He's a walking, talking computer and can spout facts and figures till the cows come home. The working relationship between him and Ned is excellent. I never tired of their conversations. Because of the nature of the crime, the 'spooks' are also called in. And as if all that were not enough to be going on with, Ned's love life is giving him grief.
As the plot deepens we see Ned travel between the UK and Afghanistan several times in a supreme effort to solve the crime. His on/off girlfriend Kate is out there with the British forces as a dog handler. We get the low-down on the danger she and Jiffy face, on a daily (if not hourly) basis. Terrific storytelling and all the more poignant as we can relate it to real life situations.
What I liked about this particular work of fiction was that in essence, it was a good all-round story. Not too macho, not over-playing the hand as far as Afghanistan is concerned but really telling it like it is, but in a fictional setting. An intelligent thriller with credible characters and first-class dialogue. Thoroughly recommended.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals then you might like to try The Secrets of Pain by Phil Rickman.
You can read more book reviews or buy Into Dust by Jonathan Lewis at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Into Dust by Jonathan Lewis at Amazon.com.
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