Title: Burned & Broken
Author: Mark Hardie
Published: January 26th 2017
Genre: Adult, Crime, Mystery
Length: 368 pages
Source: Paperback from Publisher
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
An enigmatic policeman – currently the subject of an internal investigation – is found burned to death in his car on the Southend sea front.
A vulnerable young woman, fresh out of the care system, is trying to discover the truth behind the sudden death of her best friend.
As DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell from the Essex Police Major Investigation Team are brought in to solve the mystery that surrounds their colleague’s death, they’re under intense pressure to crack the case without damaging the force’s reputation.
When a dramatic turn of events casts a whole new light on both cases, the way forward is far from clear. Were the victims connected in some way? And just how much should Pearson and Russell reveal to their bosses as they begin to unearth some dark secrets that the force would rather keep buried?
Mark Hardie’s stylish and gripping debut introduces a brilliant new detective duo to the world of crime fiction, weaving together two suspenseful stories that end in a breath-taking finale.
I was quite excited to pick up this book for a couple of reasons. The first was that it’s crime fiction with a little mystery thrown in – always a favourite of mine – and the second was that the premise had me so intrigued from the get go that I couldn’t wait to jump in and find out what it was all about.
Frank Pearson and Cat Russell are in a crunch against time to figure out what happened to their colleague, who was potentially murdered in a car fire. With so many conflicting pieces of evidence, it’s hard for them to keep the stories straight. There are dark secrets waiting to be uncovered and who knows what the truth is any more.
Sean Carragher was under investigation by Professional Standards for fudging his expenses – or so it seemed at the start. What we uncover is something much more elaborate and darker. I actually really liked Sean’s character, for as much as we learn about him after his death. He was dark and dirty but there was something about him that actually seemed to care about making sure justice was served, whatever means necessary. He was the only character in the book that I liked and he was dead from the get go – more the pity. I would’ve liked to have seen more of him.
I didn’t particularly like Cat. She was loyal, sure, but she came off really abrupt and harsh to me. I didn’t find her sympathetic when she was the one being grilled about Carragher’s private life and such. I just found her really annoying. I was glad when she wasn’t around.
Pearson was okay, but not the enigmatic police detective I’m used to in my crime fiction. A lot of the time, he’s talking about having to pee – I’m not even joking here – because he may or may not have cancer. It got a little repetitive after a while.
While I enjoyed this story and the two different plot lines that obviously converge at the end, it wasn’t on par with other crime fiction I’ve read in the past. It was a little dull, not a lot happens. It’s mostly flashbacks to help the reader understand how things happened rather than being in the moment and one thing after another going wrong and having to deal with it.
I also found the weird point of view jumping really confusing. One minute you’re on Pearson’s point of view, the next sentence it’s Cat’s. It threw me a little sometimes.
Having said that, I still really enjoyed figuring out what happened. I wasn’t overly shocked by the reveal, I hadn’t really seen it coming but it wasn’t so shocking that I gasped or anything (as I’ve done with other books). If you like crime fiction, I’d recommend giving it a go but not expecting anything mind-blowing.