Sins of the Father by Graham Hurley

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Sins of the Father by Graham Hurley

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A top class, intricate, thought-provoking police procedural. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: November 2014
Publisher: Orion
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1409153375

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Rupert Moncrieff was beaten to death in his waterside home early one Sunday morning in December 2013. All his money had not saved him from his throat being cut and his face slashed and hooded. One of his sons and his daughter still lived with him, but during the past week an African had been staying with the family. Strangely no one knew his name, but when the body was discovered the man had disappeared. DS Jimmy Suttle is investigating the case but like the family in the waterside mansion he has demons of his own to fight after the abduction and death of his daughter Grace and subsequent separation from his journalist wife, Lizzie.

Have you had one of those nights when sleep simply won't come and you require something to read? It doesn't matter what it is other than that it isn't a telephone directory or a book of sudoku puzzles. That's how I picked up Sins of the Father: I didn't care whether it was part of a series or what the genre - it was words on a page with which I hoped to clear my mind enough to sleep. Well, I didn't get to sleep for several hours, but I found a very good book and an author with a generous back catalogue to explore.

It is part of a series - in fact it's the third in the DS Jimmy Suttle investigations - but the fact that I didn't find out until afterwards shows the extent to which the book can be read as a stand alone. I don't know if there are spoilers, but I suspect not as there are references to an earlier investigation which produced injuries - but the situation isn't fully explained. It didn't worry me in the slightest, because what I got was a multi-stranded story, as Jimmy Suttle investigated the murder of Rupert Moncrieff and Lizzie investigated the circumstances which had led to the death of their daughter Grace.

They're both excellent stories - many novels in the crime genre would feel that they'd delivered with just one of the strands, but Sins of the Father is an intricately woven tapestry dealing with important issues. Mental health is to the forefront, with thought-provoking forays into the parts played by mental health professionals and the police in dealing with the most vulnerable people in society - and the extent to which they protect the wider public. Perhaps more shocking is the investigation into our colonial misdemeanours in Africa and how the problems will return to haunt us. The overlying theme though is the way in which we deal with grief - and every one of us is different.

The characters are brilliant. I could empathise with the Moncrieff family - children of a controlling, psychotic parent and driven to the end of their tether by his actions, but would it be sufficient to make them murder? I liked Lizzie too - determined not to place blame for the death of her daughter, but simply to understand what caused it, other than a moment's loss of concentration on the part of her parents. It's a top class book and I'd like to thank the lovely people at Orion for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

We've also enjoyed The Price of Darkness part of the DI Joe Faraday series. More recently we've also enjoyed The Kill by Jane Casey and Darkness, Darkness: Resnick's Last Case by John Harvey.

Buy Sins of the Father by Graham Hurley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sins of the Father by Graham Hurley at

Buy Sins of the Father by Graham Hurley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sins of the Father by Graham Hurley at


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