This is my first dip into Barry Maitland’s crime adventure stories of Brock and Kolla. I was keen to see how this would read as a stand-alone novel. I am so glad I persevered past the rather confusing first pages where, I believe, the characters would have slotted more readily into my brain if I had been already familiar with them through reading previous books.
My dip quickly became a submersion. So much so that I did not take a single note (as a reviewer), but devoured this fascinating, page turning entanglement like one obsessed with its reading. There are so many interesting layers created with the central figure of Detective Chief Inspector Kathy Kolla, (having to prove herself in her new position) central to the narrative.
A fascinating intrigue is a significant manuscript. Could it really be George Orwell’s? It appears to somehow be a motivating force and link in so many of the murders and is increasingly fundamental in solving the timing and how and why of the murders.
Kathy Kolla finds herself once again caught up with Brock. Is he with or against her?
The vicious murders on Hampstead Heath are not the only ones and forensic evidence against Brock unbelievably places him at the scene of yet another murder. Jail from the inside is quite a different experience.
Numerous suspicions lurk in the reader’s mind. The finale is thrilling and appropriate as Kathy finally gathers all the threads. Who would have thought it possible?
Barry Maitland is masterful with his prose in establishing the inner-most psychological feelings of each character. He skilfully leaves his own literary door open for a follow up of Kathy as she is personally drawn to one of the characters.
If you enjoy crime, mystery and adventure in the setting of the legal system this is a must read.
On a more personal level I met Barry Maitland at a local book launch. I gave him a copy of the review as written above.