I received an advance readers copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Wow! This was brilliant to read! I loved every twist and turn, every little detail that this carefully plotted mystery threw at me. Having read only some Bryant & May short stories before, I was eager to see what Christopher Fowler does with them in the longer form, and I was not disappointed in the slightest.
The failing Peculiar Crimes Unit has a huge challenge on it's hands. Senior detective Bryant is suffering from memory loss and hallucinations, while the rest of the team comes under investigation as to it's effectiveness in his absence. At the same time, a challenging case appears when a young woman is found drowned, chained to a ring at Tower Beach, near Tower Bridge. They have this case to solve and clear their reputation to save their careers. The plot flows easily from each twist to the next, and considering the complex nature of this wonderful story that cannot be easy! The writing is very colourful, and you can really imagine yourself in modern day London as you read.
All that is great, but it wouldn't be complete without the bizarre range of characters on offer. Each has his or her own clearly defined life, and each is worth a mention but, for me, the star of the story is Arthur Bryant. He is old-fashioned, bad with technology, clearly he needs clinical help...and yet, he is unbelievably endearing. It is something I noticed in the short stories as well. But the thing I love about Bryant is his sheer bloody-mindedness. He doesn't care if he bends a few laws here and there to get results. Also, he is just so bloody funny!
I'm planning to go to the beginning of this series in future and read all of the books so I can follow the characters development throughout. This book is so brilliant, I don't have enough stars to give it what it deserves!
Star rating: 5 from 5 - because I can't go higher!