“The Last Thread puts the reader in the driving seat of a complex murder investigation with all the political and operational pressures that investigations engage.”
In addition to his paid supervisory role, DCI Doug Sterling works as an unpaid negotiator for the Worcester Police. Just when he is preparing for an important meeting, his morning is interrupted with a call to a bridge where a teenager is threatening to jump. The morning turns tragic when the teen falls and dies. A journalist, in the right place at exactly the right time, takes a photo just when Sterling loses his grip. As a result, an internal police investigation is started and Sterling is put on leave. The investigation is to be head by Chief Inspector John Ballard, a man who has an axe to grind with Sterling, which could result in his career being sabotaged.
A few weeks later, a brutal and vicious murder takes place. Low on manpower due to it being the Easter weekend, Sterling is called in to head the investigation. A complicated and costly murder inquiry that will last almost two weeks before being brought to a conclusion.
Luckily for Sterling, he is blessed with a team that he trusts and respects, who in turn trust and respect him. His second in command, DI Edwards always has his back. DS Heal, who manages the day-to-day of the investigation is hard-working and loyal to a fault.
The murder victim was a despicable, vile man whose sordid personal life ascertained that there is no shortage of viable suspects in his death.
In the meantime, Sterling is in a new relationship with a beautiful lawyer named Ayesha and is confronted with an old flame, a policewoman who has been called in to work the case on Sterling’s team.
This was the ‘real deal’ when it comes to police procedurals. Written by a former police detective, he writes realistically of his work experience and knowledge of police procedure.
The plot was complicated, though the various threads were joined eventually until the ‘last thread’ brought the various story-lines together.
This was quite a long novel, sometimes delving into the minutiae of police procedure. It was also a novel which realistically portrayed the plight of real-life police who in addition to working long hours on their cases, must factor in tight police budgets, endless paperwork, low manpower, complicated decision making, all the while having to be cognizant of police hierarchy despite incompetent, untrustworthy men in supervisory roles. Never mind their personal lives…
It took me a few chapters to become fully immersed in this story, but once I did the pages almost turned themselves. Neither fast nor slow paced, it moved along well. I could have done with a few less pages of the day to day procedure, but all in all it was a satisfying read.
I plan to read the next DCI Doug Sterling novel in due course. (A novel which hopefully will divulge his real name.) He was an interesting and complex protagonist whom I want to get to know better.
Recommended to those readers who enjoy realistic police procedural mysteries.
I purchased a digital copy of this novel from Amazon.ca after reading a review by Cleo Bannister on her blog. Since then, the author has gifted me his second novel, which I am anxious to read when time allows.Publication date: October 2017
Publisher: Ray Britain
ISBN: 9781999812218 ASIN:B075CWW1J4 578 pages
As a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) Ray Britain led many specialist investigations. He was also a Hostage & Crisis Intervention Negotiator, a voluntary role, that saw him involved in hostage situations, many firearms operations and numerous suicide interventions, not all of which ended happily. In those specialist roles he supported national counter-terrorism capabilities, and traveled to the USA, India, Europe, Australia and elsewhere. He received several Commendations for his work.He also worked with the Serious Fraud Office and the Home Office, London, and the Economic Crime Directorate of the City of London Police. Ray’s real-world experience gives an authentic edge to his stories, immersing the reader in the grim realities, uncertainties and frustrations of crime investigation, and of human nature. If not writing Ray might be found mountain hiking, watching rugby, skiing, reading, sailing or in the gym.
“The Last Thread” is his debut novel. His second novel to feature DCI Doug Sterling is called “Forgotten Lives” and it was published January 2021.