Today I am delighted to share my thoughts on The Blackbird by Tim Weaver as part of the blog tour. True to form , although this is the eleventh book in the series, this is my first time of reading all about missing persons investigator David Raker. My thanks to publisher Michael Joseph for the tour invite and for sending an early copy of the book for review. Here’s what it’s about:
About the Book
Just before the crash, Cate and Aiden Gascoigne are recorded on CCTV, laughing and happy. Then their car plunges into a ninety-foot ravine.
Within seconds, the vehicle is an inferno – and the Gascoignes are trapped inside.
But when fire crews arrive, they find something impossible:
The vehicle is empty.
Cate and Aiden have vanished.
And only missing persons investigator David Raker can solve the mystery . . .
I really am regretting those many barren years in which I didn’t really pick up a book. I’m mean, I read a few books, but nothing of note, and nowhere near as much as I do now and, as a result, I have missed out. Greatly. One of the series that has passed me by has been this one, the David Raker series by Tim Weaver, and I have to wonder how. I know that I regret it because, having read (and part listened to) The Blackbird, I can see this another series I need to add to my must read list.
For those reading purists out there, go, grab book one and start there. I’m very confident it will be worth it. For the mad fools like me, who don’t mind dipping their toes mid series, then there is enough backstory to allow you to keep up, without drowning old faithfuls in too much reworked info. Yes. I really want to know the history now, especially as it looks like part of it is set to bite Raker right royally on the backside if the ending of this book is anything to go by. More importantly, I just want to know what came before as I really enjoyed this book. A very quick, two nights kind of read, which for me is a miracle right now.
From the very start of this novel I was completely intrigued. The set up, the premise, and the very reason that David Raker is engaged in order to investigate this particular missing persons case by the victims’ family, is exactly the kind of mystery that gets the mind churning and that sucked me into all of the possibilities of what could have happened. How could two people caught in a devastating road traffic accident just disappear? And why? And was it even an accident? All of these questions, and a surprising amount more are slowly answered through the course of the book, and I mean slowly as we find ourselves drawn into a case which is much bigger than Raker could have first imagined, and also far more dangerous too, both physically and reputationally.
Although it’s my first time of meeting him, I really liked the character of David Raker. It’s clear he has a complex past, one I’m interested to learn more about, and the people who inhabit his world too, particularly his relationship with Healy. That in itself adds an element of intrigue to the story. And it’s clear that in his investigations, Raker has trodden on a few toes which puts him at odds with not just those trying to conceal the truth behind Cait and Aiden’s disappearance, but also the police and journalists alike.
And it’s fair to say that Raker is in all manner of bother by the end of the book, leaving me wondering just how he can get himself out of this sticky situation and prove that he is another innocent victim in an increasingly complex case. I can’t quite put my finger on what it was about him that I liked, but there was just something. perhaps his matter of fact character and determination to get to the truth no matter what. Perhaps it was the narration of the audiobook, but more likely the authentic first person narrative, but I was on Raker’s side very quickly and one the edge of my seat as things started to take a very dark turn.
There are some very dark themes within this book, and with some scenes told from third party points of view, the story switches back and forth between past and present, gradually building up a clearer picture of what led to the fateful night two years earlier. A new thread and links back to an open investigation into a serial killer in the North East sends the story spiralling in a direction I wasn’t expecting. I just admit, that travelling north with Raker, and the references to the North East, a place I spend a lot of time in, did make me smile, but only for a while. The disturbing truth of what has occured, and the constant pulsating sense of threat infused throughout the book made the happy reminiscences short lived. The wider case, while skin-crawling in nature, is also strangely plausible. The twisted and careful plotting keep the truth well hidden until just the right moment, and the revelations that are to follow will both anger and fascinate in equal measure. Nothing is as it seems and the surprises keep coming right to the very last page.
If this is the quality of what to expect from the rest of the series, I’m in. Complex, twisted and full of threat, the book had me hooked from the start. Cast all other distractions aside. Once you start reading you won’t want to stop.
About the Author
Tim Weaver is the Sunday Times bestselling author of twelve thrillers, including You Were Gone and No One Home. He has been nominated for a National Book Award, twice selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club, and shortlisted for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. He is the host and producer of the chart-topping Missing podcast and is currently developing an original TV series with the team behind Line of Duty. A former journalist and magazine editor, he lives near Bath with his wife and daughter.
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