So Say the Fallen (DCI Serena Flanagan) by Stuart Neville

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So Say the Fallen (DCI Serena Flanagan) by Stuart Neville

Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The second book in the DCI Serena Flanagan series reads perfectly well as a standalone and it's a cracking good read. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368/10h32m Date: July 2017
Publisher: Vintage
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1784703035

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Harry Garrick had been a successful businessman until the car accident which cost him both legs and left him bedridden and beholden to his wife for even the most intimate functions, so there was not a lot of surprise when, six months later, he seemed to have taken his own life. One sachet of morphine granules, mixed in a pot of yoghurt had given him a good night's sleep. Garrick appeared to have crunched ten sachets of granules, if the empty packets were anything to go by. It seemed obvious that the case should be closed quickly: who would dispute a finding of suicide? Even DCI Serena Flanagan was just about convinced: it was just that the widow, Roberta Garrick, and the local clergyman, Peter McKay seemed suspiciously close. Perhaps a few loose ends needed tidying up before the case was closed?

Then there was the politician, Jim Allison, who was determined that Mrs Garrick should not be harassed. After all, it was not that long since she'd lost her only child, when she was drowned on a Barcelona beach. They were only just getting over that when Garrick had his accident - and now he was dead. Flanagan wasn't really unsympathetic, but Allison was just that bit too pressing for her liking.

I'm glad that I didn't realise that So Say The Fallen is the second book in the DCI Serena Flanagan series or I might not have picked it up: even when I'd finished the book I'd no idea of where in a series it might sit: Flanagan obviously has quite a backstory with a previous diagnosis of cancer, a vicious attack on her husband as he lay in bed, two children who seemed increasingly distant and a marriage which might not be on the rocks, but was sailing awfully close. Husband Alistair would like her to stop frontline policing (he'd like to stop having nightmares too) but Flanagan knows that the job she's doing is important to her, important to the community too. It's who she is: she can't give that up.

There's another reason why I might not have read the book: it isn't a straight police procedural as we're not really that far into the book before we know who has done what to whom and why and we're reading to find out if the police will be able to prove it. It's not a genre that I usually favour, but I was completely pulled into the story, partly by Flanagan's bloody mindedness in the face of every opinion to the contrary and - most importantly - Stuart Neville's great writing. The fine crafting of the plot isn't obvious, but when you look closely, when you go back for another look at some chapters you realise just how much skill has been written into this book.

Serena Flanagan is someone you root for. She's far from perfect: cavalier about her relationships with her husband and children and somewhat wayward when it comes to doing what she's told to do, but you can't help but want things to turn out right. I was impressed by Peter McKay too: initially I thought that he was going to be the stereotypical pernickety clergyman, to be called Reverend Peter, or Reverend Mr McKay but never Reverend McKay, but he's still struggling to come to terms with the sudden death of his wife, he's lost his faith and he's very easily manipulated. You can't admire some of the things he's done, but you can feel for the man - and Neville brings out the man.

I read the book far too quickly: short chapters mean that it's all too easy to fall into the 'just another few pages' syndrome and I'll be going back to read the first book in the series. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals then I think you might also enjoy reading about D I Kim Stone.

Buy So Say the Fallen (DCI Serena Flanagan) by Stuart Neville at Amazon You could get a free audio download of So Say the Fallen (DCI Serena Flanagan) by Stuart Neville with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy So Say the Fallen (DCI Serena Flanagan) by Stuart Neville at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy So Say the Fallen (DCI Serena Flanagan) by Stuart Neville at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy So Say the Fallen (DCI Serena Flanagan) by Stuart Neville at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy So Say the Fallen (DCI Serena Flanagan) by Stuart Neville at Amazon.com.


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