Book 1 in the Detective Craig Wild police procedural mystery series set in Wiltshire.
Detective Sergeant Craig Wild is in his late thirties and has recently moved from London to rural Wiltshire. He has landed in a small community rife with nepotism and local knowledge – the antithesis of his former job. In the midst of a divorce from a senior police officer, he is unsettled to say the least. Two weeks in to his new squad and he doesn’t seem very popular. His car has been keyed and his co-workers give him a wide berth for the most part. Then, finally, a case he can sink his teeth into. A farmer has been shot with a shotgun in a remote field.
His boss, DCI Marsh seems to be testing him. The only person who views him with any kind of tolerance is Police Constable Marnie Olsen, a rookie. Craig is suspicious by nature, takes anti-anxiety meds, and uses his job to avoid introspection.
I always enjoy police procedurals, especially when the protagonist has a troubled personal background. DS Craig Wild certainly fits the bill.
The setting and the police team were interesting to become acquainted with. The murder investigation was a tad convoluted, and hard to follow. The motives seemed insufficiently strong for the crime, in my opinion. Also, in concurrence with the Wiltshire murder enquiry, DS Wild still has a residual case ongoing in London, which further muddies the waters.
My favourite character was the rookie policewoman Marnie Olsen. She was smarter and more ambitious than her male counterparts, and I can see a bright future for her. Apparently the author thought so too, as she figures prominently in the second book.
All in all, a decent series debut, but not my personal favourite. I did enjoy it enough to have the second novel “West Country Murder” already loaded on my Kindle.This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Joffe Books via NetGalley. This is a title from my NetGalley backlist which I should have read and reviewed ages ago… my apologies to the author and the publisher.
Derek Thompson grew up in London and started writing fiction in his teens. After spending a year in the US, he returned to London and subsequently moved to the West Country. He wrote a commissioned piece for The Guardian in 2008 and entered the world of freelance writing in 2009. His short fiction has featured in both British and American anthologies, and can be found online. He has also written comedy material for live performance and radio.
His love of film noir and thrillers began with The Big Sleep, and has never left him. Much of his fiction involves death, data or secrets. As the saying goes: write about what you know. He writes about Thomas Bladen and his role in the Surveillance Support Unit.
His books have been described as snarky (yes, it’s a real word), pared down, and morally ambiguous. What more could any novelist ask for? Apart from pens — you can never have too many pens.