Title: The Murder Bag
Author: Tony Parsons
Publisher: Arrow (Cornerstone)
Release Date: 8th May 2014
Synopsis: Twenty years ago seven rich, privileged students became friends at their exclusive private school, Potter's Field. Now they have started dying in the most violent way imaginable.
Detective Max Wolfe has recently arrived in the Homicide division of London's West End Central, 27 Savile Row.
Soon he is following the bloody trail from the backstreets and bright lights of the city, to the darkest corners of the internet and all the way to the corridors of power.
As the bodies pile up, Max finds the killer's reach getting closer to everything - and everyone - he loves.
Soon he is fighting not only for justice, but for his own life ...
Review: When a writer changes into a new genre, its always a brave and potentially risky move. You either have to hope that you have loyal fans who will go with you and enjoy the new ride, or you have to attract new readers (as well as the fans) to see you in this new light. I'm in the latter of this having been aware of Tony parsons work previously and having seem so many posters for this on the underground, wanted to give it a try.
And am I glad I did. It is a very solid and enjoyable crime read that although isn't something drastically new, adds a new voice to the mix, one that felt different, felt like it was its own voice, and was a voice I could buy into. All the familiar and necessary pieces of a crime novel were there, but for Tony to arrange how he wanted. For me knowing an area referenced in the story, really helps not only build the image and the area, but to help make me really feel like I'm part of it. So having walked the streets of Hampstead, it was like I'd opened Google maps in my minds eye and could see everything in clear detail. This helped build the setting and an association in my mind that helped me really be a part of the book, like i was tagging along.
Its weird how everything around me sometimes feels connected, and here slap bang in the early stages of the book was a reference to room 101 from George Orwell's 1984, of which at the time of reading I had just been that fantastic stage adaptation the night before. Also the use of room 101 was really interesting, not only because of the connotations of the name, but for what the room served as (and indeed till does) and how it plays into the story.
There was a humanity to the character, something that really set him apart from a lot of crime I have read, and it wasn't the traditional sort of broken down cop. I liked the flow of the book, with its two intense openings and the way that other bits of information were easily interwoven, so that a reality was created outside of this one case, especially the slight jabs at current affairs.
The twist got me...I always try and work out who I think it could be, and most times (thankfully, I think) I never work it out, and this one hit me and I was like OOOOOO!
It was something that I would want to read more of and I am excited for the sequel later this year, and what could potentially be the great start of something new. TV series anyone, seems to be a trend at the moment!?!