Today I am sharing my thoughts on Land Rites, book two in the Detective Ford series from Andy Maslen. Here’s what. the book is all about:
About the Book
A country manor. Two murders. Multiple suspects. Can DI Ford solve the case before his own dark past is exposed?
After a dog walker discovers human remains in a badger sett in the idyllic Salisbury countryside, DI Ford is called in to lead the ensuing murder investigation. When a second victim turns up in a nearby pond, Ford is determined to find the connection.
Both victims met their fate near the sprawling Alverchalke Estate, ancestral home of a decorated war hero and his family. One was a dogged eco-activist and vocal critic of Lord Baverstock. The other was a petty criminal and poacher, youngest brother of a notorious local crime family. Certain that there’s more to this case than trespassing, Ford and Dr Hannah Fellowes race to find the hidden link. But when one victim’s family threatens to expose Ford’s own dark secret, the ticking clock becomes a time bomb.
Still consumed by guilt over his part in his wife’s tragic accident and struggling to raise the teenage son he lied to, Ford now finds himself losing control of the investigation. Can he work with Hannah to solve the case while privately fighting off the attempted blackmail? Or have his demons finally caught up with him?
A missing person, a dismembered body and a whole heap of trouble face Detective Ford in this second book in the series by Andy Maslen. This is certainly a very unique case, one which involves Environmental activists, a local crime family with whom Ford has a very volatile history, and the threat of past secrets being exposed. Full of mystery and a whole heap of pressure, this is a book that had me racing through it, curious to see Ford find the truth.
Now I think that from the beginning of this book, although there are a number of suspects offered as a possibility, the suspicion really does all twist in one direction. I had an inkling early on what. the root cause of the story may be, it was a matter of seeing if my suspicions proved to be founded or wide of the mark. That’s not to say that it detracted from my enjoyment of the book, more it spurred me on to read faster as I wanted to get the. full picture. It’s as much a question of identifying the victims and the link, if any, between two very contrasting individuals, that captures the imagination, the author dropping the occasional red herring to keep readers guessing that little bit longer.
Part of the tension which bubbles along throughout the novel comes from the clash between Ford and one of the victim’s families, a notorious crime family who he has tried, and failed, to see sent down. To say that animosity lingers would be an understatement, and it is the threat of what they might do if Ford fails that keeps the pressure on and then clock very much ticking. Ford holds his own, especially when the threat is close to home, but it comes at a cost and seeing that harder, more volatile side of his character explored added a new dimension to the story. It is clear that this is a conflict that is going to linger, and I’ll be interested to see how it plays out in future stories. It certainly has potential.
The story focuses on the themes of power and influence. Of saving face and protecting reputations. Of how far people will go to protect and avenge loved ones and of the determination of Ford and his team to see justice done, whatever the implications. Seeing the relationship between Ford and Forensic scientist Hannah Fellowes continue to grow whilst facing a number of challenges along the way really adds to the story for me. Hannah’s interest in Ford leads to some awkward moments for the pair, but it remains to be seen how that fascination will develop and if Ford can ever take a step beyond the memory of his dead wife. This book is about more than just the murder investigations though and seeing Ford balance his fears and the need to develop his relationship with his son, really just mirrors that sense of compromise and sacrifice that runs through the story.
It’s a really varied team that Ford works with and from his superior officer, Detective Superintendent Monroe, to his less than supportive and entirely resentful DS, Mick Tanner, they both challenge and hinder his progress in the investigation. Tanner is distracted, Monroe, slightly cautious but inclined to let Ford follow his instincts. With the motherly figure of DS Jan Derwent, keen but new fast tracked DC Olly Cable and DC Jools Harper rounding out the team, we have a diverse cast of characters who I love to read about. They are still not fully bonded as a team, Tanner’s resentment extending to Olly as well as Ford, but they do finally get to the right conclusions, and watching the ever evolving relationships and tensions between them gives the story a kind of realistic feel.
With the pacing just right for the nature of the story, and the threat and tension bubbling along nicely, I really enjoyed this read and look forward to seeing what comes next for Ford, Hannah and the team.
About the Author
Andy Maslen was born in Nottingham, England. After leaving university with a degree in psychology, he worked in business for thirty years as a copywriter. In his spare time, he plays blues guitar. He lives in Wiltshire.