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   Black Dog

Black Dog
by Stephen Booth

Category: Fiction / Crime
514 pages; ISBN: 0006514324

Rating: 9/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Luke Croll


Laura Vernon, a smart and sexy teenager goes missing in the heat of long summer in the Peak District. When her body is discovered, the police hope for a swift resolution, but it is not to be. Everyone involved in the case has secrets, impeding the investigation. DC Ben Cooper has his own feelings about the case, but he is hampered by the arrival of an ambitious female DC from another division. Can they work together to solve the case?

Every so often, you will discover a book that will show you that its author is destined for great things. 'Black Dog' is one of those books. Stephen Booth has produced two more books in this series and another is on the way, due to the great success of 'Black Dog', success which is richly deserved. Booth has painted a rich and detailed picture of the Peak District, making the area just as much a character here as Edinburgh is a character in Rankin's Rebus novels.

As for the actual characters, they are great constructions and Booth makes sure that they are seen as very human, with faults as well as strengths. The plot is filled with false clues and plot twists, making the eventual solution one that I did not see coming. In terms of faults in the novel, the ending may be only a slightly weak point and this is more down to personal taste than author error. I prefer to see all the loose ends tied up, giving closure to the novel, but Booth leaves some of the events following the disclosure of the murderer's identity to the reader's imagination.

However, this is only a very minor point which some will discount immediately. This means I have no qualms in recommending this as a brilliant novel, made all the more outstanding by the fact that it is debut novel. Fans of British police procedurals will love it and it marks the arrival of another great British talent.


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