The Watchers

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A brisk, entertaining, well-written and engaging police procedural, this series follows the caseload of New Scotland Yard DCI Steve Burt, Head of the Special Resolutions unit, where he leads a team (mostly assembled case-by-case) of crackerjack detectives and specialists tasked with resolving the serious crimes that no other department can solve.

In this particular installment, DCI Burt has his hands full with not one, but two major crimes – one consisting of a series of murders, and the second a potential threat to UK National Security.

As the story unfolds, we enter the lightly-misogynistic and still-patriarchal world of DCI Burt’s New Scotland Yard, where a giggly and enthusiastic pretty-young-thing is given more respect than the large and lumpy seasoned female professionals, and an almost-daily ranting line-of-command tongue-lashing for senior (male) officers is par-for-the-course, – title, rank (and rationality) be damned.

Adding in 20 tonnes of Bank of England gold bullion, the steamy world of MI6 and Turkish terrorism, and a hint of “Money Heist” on an equally grand scale, this story quickly becomes populated with so many twists and turns and shadowy figures “under watch” that it’s unclear for quite some time exactly who the “bad guys” are.

As the author ramps up the plot with a healthy smattering of MPs, Lords and Ladies, Right Honorables, country mansions, genteel penury, pampered wastrels, match-making antics (replete with fathers “desperate” to marry-off young and grasping daughters), tweed jackets, brandy and cigars, a world clearly tailor-made for literary murder emerges – as this not-so-modern-after-all Agatha Christie counterpart unravels a cleverly-convoluted set of mysteries for the reader to solve.

I enjoyed this read, a well-balanced mixture of police procedure and suspense that keeps the plot moving quickly, finding DCI Steve Burt a likable and level-headed leader, who manages to rattle his commanding officers, while generating the respect of his team (a team, which, somewhat uniquely among books of this genre, shrinks and grow with some rapidity, keeping the cast of secondary characters unusually fluid).

A great big thank you to the author and the publisher for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.


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