Tuesday 29 March 2016

Review: Strange Tides (Bryant & May) by Christopher Fowler

Title: Bryant & May: Strange Tides (Bryant & May #13)
Author: Christopher Fowler
Publisher: Doubleday
Release date: March 24th 2016
Synopsis: The river Thames is London’s most important yet neglected artery. When a young woman is found chained to a post in the tide, no-one can understand how she came to be drowned there. At the Peculiar Crimes Unit, Arthur Bryant and John May find themselves dealing with an impossible crime committed in a very public place. Soon they discover that the river is giving up other victims, but as the investigation extends from the coast of Libya to the nightclubs of North London, it proves as murkily sinister as the Thames itself. That’s only part of the problem; Bryant’s rapidly deteriorating condition prevents him from handling the case, and he is confined to home. To make matters worse, May makes a fatal error of judgement that knocks him out of action and places everyone at risk.As the detectives’ disastrous investigation comes unstuck, the whole team gets involved in some serious messing about on the river. In an adventure that’s as twisting as the river upon which it’s set, will there be anything left of the Peculiar Crimes Unit when it’s over?

Review: It really feels like I've had a sudden influx of Bryant & May, but they are such engrossing characters, that's what you do when you find a new series you really love right? You just want to binge read all the book you can.

First off I love these covers, there's that great older style that put me in mind of old underground posters, that make them more than just engaging book covers, they're art that hint at the treasures inside.

So here we are at Book 13 and the Peculiar crimes unit is in danger, Arthur's mind is in danger and there are some strange things happening on the thames.  The Thames is a fascinating thing with such a history, even if it looks grey and nasty to look at at present. It is this history that allows the magic of these books come out with the weird and wonderful information Bryant pops out...even if it turns out to be completely unrelated to the story.

The plot itself built and built as the story evolved, pieces falling in and out of importance as both the reader and the detectives tried to work out what happened. I always try to work things out and always fail. Maybe I'm going to sit down one day and set up a little operations area and work it out...might even have my own crime book by the end of it.

Bryant and May together embody the idea of the detective in the golden age of crime writing and slapped them in the twenty first century. They feel different, they act different and this makes them a perfect pair.  Then supported by the rest of the Peculiar crimes division I feel like they're such a team that all form part of the book rather than a group of passing characters that dip in and out. You get to learn about each of them and form different connections and bonds with them.

Bryant's failing mind gave some great artistic licence allowing him to have these hallucinations that took him in back in the past, and whilst almost made light of here because of the comic value, also hold elements of realism in the nature.

This book was a little bit less pacy for me...felt a bit stretched at times so my attention swayed in parts, but i do also think my commute to work is affecting my reading and contributed to this. It's built like a good crime novel and unfolds well so that I still enjoyed what I was reading, because it's hard not to.

I'm on board the Bryant & May train are you???


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