Today I am delighted to share my thoughts on Nowhere To Run, book three in the Constance Fairchild series by James Oswald. I have loved this series and so have been looking forward to this latest instalment for a while. It feels like I’ve had it on order for a while too but it is finally out tomorrow, so fans of the series rejoice. Extremely grateful to the author who gifted an advance copy of the book for me to review. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
On compassionate leave following the death of her mother, Detective Constable Constance Fairchild thought renting a cottage near Aberystwyth, Wales would get her far enough from London to finally relax. But trouble always seems to find Con, and it’s not long before she is cooling off in a police station cell after defending herself from two would-be rapists.
In custody she meets a young Ukrainian woman, Lila, who confides in Con that she’s been forced by her manipulative boyfriend into prostitution and running drugs. Fearing for her life, she has run away from him, only to end up in the cells.
Con offers to help, but when her cottage is ransacked, and Lila subsequently disappears, she realises she’s stumbled into very dangerous company. International drug smugglers and ruthless people traffickers – those who will stop at nothing to protect their secrets. Out here at the end of the line, will Con find that there’s nowhere left to run?
Ahhhhh. Con Fairchild – I have missed you. Even when she is looking for the simple and uncomplicated life, trouble has a way of finding her. It’s had to make a fair old trip this time around though, as Con has taken herself off to the very edge of the Welsh coast, a stay extended by the ever helpful gift of covid and a series of lockdowns which make any kind of return to her day to day life impossible, even assuming this is something Con might actually want. She doesn’t … but as her boss well knows, a puzzle is something Con finds very, very, hard to resist.
Strange and unusual seem to be an everyday occurence for our favourite Detective and Nowhere to Run is absolutely no exception to the norm. It’s one of the things I like about this series, and James Oswald’s books in general to be fair. They are not your average police procedurals. Not by a long chalk. And Constance Fairchild is not your average Detective. She has seen her fair share of the inexplicable and the scene is set for more to come with local legends and mythology intermingling with a case very much grounded in the real life atrocities that could all too easily have been ripped from the headlines. It is a story which is very topical, a touch dark in terms of theme perhaps, but told in the series trademark first person, almost conversational style which keeps readers immersed in the action but a step removed from the real depravity of what is happening. It works brilliantly in this case, with Con’s conscience and natural curiosity driving her to get involved in a very complex investigation, even though she is meant to be on sabbatical. But from her perspective we get a unique take on what is happening, and I found myself faced with a real determination of our own to see the whole thing through to its conclusion.
I really love the character of Con Fairchild. She has a very unique background, is an actual Lady no less, and her connections extend far and wide, sometimes touching on the periphery of James Oswald’s other wonderful world, that of Inspector McLean, most specifically Madame Rose. She isn’t as affected as someone of her breeding would be expected to be, in fact she works hard to be the direct opposite of what is expected of her. She’s a tough cookie, completely messed up mentally as you’d expected from what has happened to her in the course of the past two books, but uncompromising and almost unstoppable. And believe me, people try there damnedest this time around. Almost succeed too. It leads to some moments of real tension and also a lot of the mystery and suspense which pulses throughout the story.
I powered through this book. Ate it up. Gone in a day, much to my delight and my regret. There are so many elements of the book that I loved. It possibly helps that I know some of the area the book is set, Aberystwyth and it’s surrounds being one of my ‘local’ beach resorts. It’s familiar to me and many of the references made me smile. Then there are the elements of the mythological which permeate the series. It’s not quite supernatural, it’s not a ghostly presence we experience, but there is something … otherworldly which informs the story. The knowing glances between certain characters, the kind of sixth sense that comes to the fore. The local legend, the folklore which is beautifully blended into the tale in a way which didn’t even make me bat an eyelid. Folklore and legend in a book set in Wales? Well, duh. That whole concept just fits.
Everything in the book worked for me in fact, even the inclusion of the dreaded ‘C-19’. It almost wouldn’t be the same without it. This book is rooted well and truly in the present day, and what better reason for Con to stay exactly where she would be needed than a national lockdown. or two … It doesn’t dominate in anyway, it informs and, to a degree, amuses as the story carefully reflects the very different rules, and fortunes, we’ve all experienced. It also means that those doing bad things in the middle of the night have an added layer of privacy and isolation which adds to the jeopardy and the tension of the overall story.
And I really, really want a Gelert now. Minus the farting. Read the book. I promise it will all make sense.
Another fun, action filled mystery that provided the perfect blend of intense investigation, memorable characters, witty dialogue, legend and mysticism. Loved it.
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. Set in an Edinburgh not so different to the one we all know, Detective Inspector Tony McLean is the unlucky policeman who can see beneath the surface of ordinary criminal life to the dark, menacing evil that lurks beneath.
James has also introduced the world to Detective Constable Constance ‘Con’ Fairchild, whose first outing was in the acclaimed No Time To Cry.
As J D Oswald, James has written a classic fantasy series, The Ballad of Sir Benfro. Inspired by the language and folklore of Wales, it follows the adventures of a young dragon, Sir Benfro, in a land where his kind have been hunted near to extinction by men. The whole series is now available in print, ebook and audio formats.
James has pursued a varied career – from Wine Merchant to International Carriage Driving Course Builder via Call Centre Operative and professional Sheep Shit Sampler (true). He moved out of the caravan when Storm Gertrude blew the Dutch barn down on top of it, and now lives in a proper house with two dogs, two cats and a long-suffering partner. He farms Highland cows by day, writes disturbing fiction by night.