This is the first book I’ve read by Tony J Forder and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last! This is a Cambridgeshire based police procedural, well written and researched with a DI who is very different to the norm and certainly not what I was expecting when I first started to read Bad to the Bone!
We are first introduced to DI James Bliss when he is brought in to investigate a body in the woods. He came across strongly for me at first, even though I thought his behaviour was rather unconventional at times and slightly politically incorrect -I felt he would have been very much at home in a 1970s TV police drama such as The Sweeney at times! But then I came to realise a lot of how he behaved was down to a recently diagnosed medical condition combined with an overwhelming sense of grief that he was struggling to deal with. Unfortunately, he then did a few things that seemed totally uncharacteristic including sharing details of some extra curricular activities that I was unexpectedly shocked by(and I’m no prude!!) as it didn’t seem to match up with his character! This disclosure actually made me wonder whether or not to carry on with the book but I’m glad I did as the closer I got to the end, the more he redeemed himself although it may take another book to totally convince me!
There is a large cast of characters here which helps add to the feeling of suspense with having so many suspects and possible motives to sift through. It did mean that I didn’t work out what was going on until the resolution which was well thought out and presented. I loved the relationship between Bliss and Chandler, their easy going dialogue felt authentic and natural and seemed to bring out the best of Bliss-I do love a bit of banter! And I would like to find out more about Penny Chandler in future books, although after the shocks I had finding out more about Bliss and his personal life, maybe it’s best if I don’t!
Although DI Bliss wasn’t really my cup of tea, it did make a refreshing change to get an insight into a man who wasn’t your stereotypical police officer. And while I didn’t particularly take to him it doesn’t mean others won’t applaud his actions and revel in his idiosyncrasies! Although I felt the narrative struggled a bit in the middle with the plot threads, once they started to come together in the final third of the book I couldn’t put it down! A good solid crime thriller that will keep you guessing till the very end.
Many thanks to the publisher Bloodhound Books for my review copy of Bad to the Bone which is now available to purchase from Amazon UK