Crime Thriller

Judas Horse – Lynda La Plante

17 March 2021
Judas Horse Book Cover Judas Horse
Jack Warr
Lynda La Plante
Bonnier Zaffre
1 April 2021

Not all killers can be tamed... The thrilling second book in the Sunday Times bestselling Detective Jack Warr crime series. Wild mustangs are difficult to rope, their lead stallion wary and protective of his herd. To capture that special stallion takes time. He is separated, roped, and lead back to the ranch. Once tamed, he is sent back into the wild. And before long, he will lead the entire herd back to the ranch. He is given the name 'Judas Horse'. When Detective Jack Warr identifies an informer, the terrified man begins to give details of a massive robbery planned by a team of unscrupulous and dangerous men. These men have already orchestrated many audacious robberies, leaving terrified victims in their wake. And they have already killed to get what they want. Detective Jack Warr and his team must use their informant as a 'Judas Horse' to draw in the unsuspecting robbers, so that they go ahead with the planned robbery. However, one false move, and more blood will be spilled . . .


Lynda La Plante returns with her second book in the Jack Warr series, and I have to say this one is highly accomplished with a compelling storyline. I had an issue with the first book, but La Plante has delivered a police procedural thriller that is amongst the best she has written, or anyone has written.

The Judas Horse deals with a gang of burglars robbing the wealthy residents of the Cotswolds in England. Knowledge of the area, insider information, local resistance to reporting thefts, and clever planning are contributing to the gang’s success. However, as they start to encounter unforeseen twists they become more violent and daring. Jack Warr is brought into the investigation team to lead up the hunt for the criminals and catch them before their last big job goes down and they disappear for good.

“ ‘Do you know what a Judas Horse is?’ Charlotte asked as she buckled the bridle into place. ‘When the wild mustangs are running free, you corral one and train it. It can take weeks, even months, but when he’s ready, you can release him and he’ll bring his team back into the corral like Judas betraying them.’ ”

I love La Plante’s main protagonist, Jack Warr, who is superbly drawn as an experienced detective with a talent for reading people and developing important insights. She executes the perfect balance of Jack being driven by a sense of justice while prepared to operate illegally. A detective who understands the delicate nature of working with and promoting others, while prepared to dispense uncompromising force if necessary. Jack’s wife, Maggie, reminds him that he’s the product of both sides of the track “Think like Harry, act like Charlie, and you’ll be invincible. You are the very best of two strong and memorable men. You are a force to be reckoned with, Jack Warr.” 

What really impresses, is that he’s not a superhuman or a deeply damaged but brilliant detective, he feels real with flaws and talents, the dialogue is flawless, and the team around him all provide depth and challenges.

The plot is very well developed, and its delivery maintains suspense and mystery throughout. This was a great concept and it was intriguing how the story unfolded. The human fears of retribution and guilt make the Judas Horse plan uncertain, and the question must be asked, what if it is turned and used to manipulate Jack and his team.

I would highly recommend this book and I’d like to thank Bonnier Zaffre and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in return for an honest review.

Peter Donnelly

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley

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