Deadly Intent, by Lynda La Plante

Anna Travis is a police inspector with a slightly messy personal life, called in to investigate the murder of an ex-policeman whose body is found in a squat in a block of flats notorious for drug dealing. Using (what seems like) intuition, she comes up with a theory for what's happened, but has a hard time persuading her boss to back her up. In fact, it turns out that an internationally wanted drug gangster is in England leaving a trail of dead bodies behind him, and Anna is soon on the case..

I realised, not long after starting this, that the story was familiar. The thing that first gave it away was the fact that the blood pattern behind the body of the murdered policeman showed that someone must have been standing behind him when he was shot. I thought - "hang on, that sounds familiar". And then a while later I realised that I've seen the TV adaptation of this book.

Strangely though, although there were a couple of bits which I did remember from the TV series (another one was the autistic man who'd made a list of all the car number plates visiting the flats around the time of the murder), I couldn't remember much about the plot.

This was quite a long book - 16 hours - and it was probably a bit over-long, and it did feel a bit like something that had been churned out conveyor-belt style, as if she was writing to fulfil a word-count target. I also found it a bit irritating that Anna kept having inspired hunches which make her boss really cross ("this is all just supposition!"), but turn out to be spot on. I think this book is part of a series, and it felt that she was writing with that in mind (don't do anything that'll muck things up for other books).

One other thing that grated was the reader (Jilly Bond) who had an eyes-rolling-I-suppose-I'll-have-to-sort-this-out-because-everyone-else-is-hopeless voice for lots of the time. Maybe another reader would have been better.

There were also a couple of mistakes that you might have expected to be picked up by a sub - she has a car "jackknifing" on the motorway: I thought that only articulated vehicles could jackknife? and also a car was disabled because its "back end" had gone. What's that? And a description of someone looking like "the South American artist Frieda Kahlo" sounded awkward.

But I did quite enjoy it and looked forward to hearing it every day. Basically a fairly reasonable workman-like crime story.

Completed : 12-Mar-2012 (audiobook)

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