Today, it is my great pleasure to be joining the blog tour for No time To Cry, the first book in the brand new Detective series from James Oswald. I love James’ Inspector McLean Series and have to be honest, this new one is shaping up to be something fabulous too. My thanks go to Anne Cater for inviting me to join the tour and to publishers Wildfire Books for providing the book for review. Here is what it is all about.
About the Book
Undercover ops are always dangerous, but DC Constance Fairchild never expected things to go this wrong.
Returning to their base of operations, an anonymous office in a shabby neighbourhood, she finds the bloodied body of her boss, and friend, DI Pete Copperthwaite. He’s been executed – a single shot to the head.
In the aftermath, it seems someone in the Met is determined to make sure that blame for the wrecked operation falls squarely on Con’s shoulders. She is cut loose and cast out, angry and alone with her grief… right until the moment someone also tries to put a bullet through her head.
There’s no place to hide, and no time to cry.
Now, when it comes to James Oswald’s writing, I am unapologetically vociferous about how much I enjoy it. Natural Causes, the first book in the Inspector McLean series, was really the book which drew me back into reading and I have been hooked ever since. I have employed my greatest book pushing skills and converted friends and family to life long fans too. So when I hear there was a new series I was both excited and a little scared. Excited because, well, it was another James Oswald book – duh! Scared because it wasn’t going to be Tony McLean. What if I didn’t like it?
Bugger all chance of that to be fair. Everything about this is new, including a new setting (mostly) south of the border. It is an almost delectably uncertain combination but as a fan I was more than happy to see how well all these changes work. And boy did they. It was fabulous and within a day of receiving the book it was finished. These are the kind of books I will happily forego sleep for. They grab me from the start and don’t let go. It was a killer making it to the end of the working day the next day at work, but I was able to blame that on the red eye to Dublin. Don’t think anyone noticed …
If, like me, you have ever wondered how it will all turn out when one of your favourite authors decides to branch out and write something sort of similar but just that little bit (completely) different, then you could ask for no finer example than this. The answer, quite simply, is write another blinking bostin’ series with a character I have already grown to like. A lot.
Constance ‘Con’ Fairchild has certainly been put through the ringer on this first outing, chased, threatened and put in a most compromising position in which her superiors suspect she may be involved in her DI’s murder, yet she never lets that stop her. Feisty, determined and with a wit sharp enough to do real damage to her foes, she is most definitely a character I want to follow onward. We learn a lot about Con, some of it very surprising and definitely not where I was expecting the book to lead but when you look back on it, it all seems to fit, including Con’s feelings of being on the outside. James Oswald has created a brilliant lead character and I’m intrigued to see where he takes the series next as some of the story angles leave this wide open.
Told in first person, the styling and voice completely contrast to the McLean series, even if certain parts may feel somewhat familiar. Yes it’s a police procedural, and yes it has a slightly unusual hook, but if you want to know what that is you need to read for yourself. It’s not the same hook as Inspector McLean if that is what you are wondering but there are some ‘similarities’ which fans of the series will appreciate. I know from attending panels with the author that he wondered if he would be able to write in a female voice, especially in first person, but to be fair, he’s done a bang up job of it. The gamble definitely paid off and drew me further into the story.
There are sensitive subjects tackled in this book, all handled carefully and not built up for gratuitous enjoyment. It also closely examines the idea of family, both Con’s relationship with her own family and that of a close family friend. It is not all plain sailing and it is not all pleasant, but the portrayal of the varying emotions involved is excellent without tripping over into dark areas..
While Con is based in London, not all of the action takes place there, with Con paying a visit north of the border into what is definitely safe territory for the author (including authentic Loch side midges). That said, the scenes set in London felt authentic, capturing of the sounds, pace and sense of the capital, in contrast to the more rural settings that we also journey too. I love the way in which the pace varies according to location, but also ramping up tension when the narrative dictates and out heroine, and several other characters, are in peril. Form the shocking opening to the tense conclusion, this is a series I know I want to read more from.
As long as I still get my dose of Tony McLean, obviously.
If you want a fast paced, action laden, plot and character driven novel that will have you grasped from the off, hitting page after page of nail biting tension as well as perfectly drawn scenery and moments of quiet calm (plus added bonus midges) – give this a go. I loved it and I know you will too.
If you would like a copy of the book for yourself then you can find it at the following retailers:
About the Author
JAMES OSWALD is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series of detective mysteries. The first two of these, NATURAL CAUSES and THE BOOK OF SOULS were both short- listed for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award. NO TIME TO CRY is the first book in James’s new Constance Fairchild series.
James farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day, writes disturbing fiction by night.
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