My DCI Daley series catch up continue with a review of A Breath on Dying Embers by Denzil Meyrick. Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
When the luxury cruiser, hastily renamed Great Britain, berths in Kinloch harbour, the pressure is on DCI Jim Daley. The UK Government are taking a high-powered group of businessmen and women on a tour of the British isles, golfing and seeing the sights, as part of a push for global trade. But when one of the crew goes missing, and an elderly local ornithologist disappears, will the pressure become too great?
The arrival of a face from the past, sends Daley’s world into a tailspin. And the lives of the passengers and crew of SS Great Britain, as well as the country’s economic future are in jeopardy. DS Brian Scott comes to the fore, and replete with a temporary promotion, is once more – most reluctantly, in his case – back at sea.
Daley faces a life and death struggle, but is this his last throw of the dice?
Well Denzil Meyrick has done it again. Another absolutely cracking read that had me chuckling into my coffee one minute and pulsing with anger the next. Topical, especially given the upcoming COP26 summit, entertaining and completely engrossing, it kept me riveted to the audiobook from start to finish. I mean, what can you really say about a story that sees Brian Scott, possibly the least politically correct and environmentally aware Detective in Kinloch, undercover amongst the high poloi and political elite, attempting to wax lyrical about the benefit of alternative fuels … Even just the thought of it is enough to bring a smile to my face.
This book is a mix of political game playing, national security and old fashioned terrorism. But there is a real thread of emotion too as the action, and the story, comes a little too close to home for Jim Daley. The book is infused with tension and mystery as you’d expect, plus some unexpected and suitably gruesome murders that have come to be a feature or previous books. Perhaps not quite so inventive as some of its predecessors, but certainly ones which get the brows a lifting. Once again drawing us back to events from the past, the impact upon the future is quite stark, but reflective of stories we hear all too often in modern life. And the mix of big business and environmentalism as a backdrop to an high stakes operation, really do add a touch of authenticity to the story. Expecting Scott to remember a script on wind farms a touch less so, but it certainly makes for some lip twitching and chuckle inducing moments. Thank heavens for Ella is all I can say. Scott is always a moment of light in what could be very dark stories, and yet again he does not disappoint.
As for Daley … well, he’s somewhat distracted this time around. Personal matters coming to impinge on his professional life and ones which. do not sit well with his new found habits. One of the best things about Daley is his passion and his conviction, both of which are tested to their limits in this book. It has been sad to watch the change in his personality over the course of the the past few books, the melancholy which has set in, but. Denzil Meyrick has played it perfectly, portraying the toll the constant emotional barrage has had upon Daley’s health, both physically and mentally. It feels right, believable, but is no less tragic and hard to watch.
The fact that I am so invested in the lives of these characters just shows how well the books are written, how astute the observational and narrative ticks of the author have been to make them get under my skin in this way. Both Scott and Daley, and the wider Kinloch community, really matter. You kind of feel protective of them, and believe me, this time around the impact is almost visceral. There are scenes which could leave you feeling quite raw emotionally, balanced very carefully in the way in which they inform the story without feeling gratuitous. It certainly leads to a very dramatic and shocking conclusion, one which left me on tenterhooks and wondering what the heck comes next.
Full of tension, fast paced action, humour and genuine, heartfelt emotion, this is one of the books that will both delight readers looking for that mystery and action led plot, but also draw you closer to the characters as a whole. Full of the author’s typically rich and vivid scene setting and engaging storytelling, it’s a memorable read for all the right reasons, and another prime example of why I’m very glad I’ve caught up with this series. Most heartily recommended.
About the Author
Denzil Meyrick was educated in Argyll, then after studying politics, joined Strathclyde Police, serving in Glasgow. After being injured and developing back problems, he entered the business world, and has operated in many diverse roles, including director of a large engineering company and distillery manager, as well as owning a number of his own companies, such as a public bar and sales and marketing company. Denzil has also worked as a freelance journalist in both print and on radio.