The highly popular, Hall of Fame author, Lynda La Plante, has treated us to another great crime thriller and the start of a new series starring her new protagonist DC Jack Warr. Buried, is a novel that is clever and compelling, and shows the natural ease La Plante has in creating characters and devilish plots in this genre.
DC Jack Warr is drifting in his career, happy to move home to support his partner, Maggie.
“Maggie and Jack had agreed that moving from Devon to London was the right thing to do for her career. His career, in his words, wasn’t as big a deal as hers. Maggie knew she wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon, whereas all Jack really knew for sure was that he wanted to be able to go and watch Plymouth Argyle whenever they played at home.”
His new boss DCI Simon Ridley takes a chance on him and together with DC Anik Joshi and DS Laura Wade, they are assigned an investigation into a fire at Rose Cottage, where a body is recovered, plus evidence of burnt money. The money is tied to a cold case train robbery from 1995, where £27 million was stolen.
In parallel, Jack’s own research into discovering who his biological father is, reveals some startling details and a connection, not only to the other side of the law but specifically to the cold case he’s currently investigating. This revelation is shocking for Jack but has the result that it may give Jack something unique in his outlook that isn’t always legal, and connections to another world, that regular police could never access. The tantalising dilemma is which side Jack will feel drawn to or will he become some sort of hybrid.
The plotting from La Plante is intelligent, complex and always mysterious. The police investigation brings the police team into contact with a group of women who are brilliantly drawn. The female gang have some throwback to La Plante’s Widows series and again she calls on her knowledge of writing these roles to make the interactions with the women gloriously entertaining. The story also takes us into East End gangs, which is where La Plante is a force on her own. If you looked up East End Gangs in a reference book it would say – see La Plante. Her delivery of the narrative and dialogue feels authentic and often gritty.
The novel provides police investigation threads and the personal life surrounding Jack, with equal distinction and complexity. Both aspects create a novel with wonderful depth and fertile ground that La Plante can sow storylines, as the series progresses. The range of well-crafted characters is exciting and they draw on our emotions with wonderful variety.
Buried feels like a novel that has all the ingredients to be a brilliant crime thriller but that the mixture just isn’t quite right at the moment although it will come good in following books. I would like to thank Bonnier Zaffre and NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC copy in return for an honest review.