Blackwater

Written by James Henry

Review written by Adam Colclough

Adam Colclough lives and works in the West Midlands, he writes regularly for a number of websites, one day he will get round to writing a book for someone else to review.


Blackwater
Quercus Publishing
RRP: £12.99
Released: July 14 2016
HBK

Colchester, Essex, in the early eighties, an unidentified body washes up on the shoreline, put there, no doubt, as the result of no good. The arrival of a huge shipment of cocaine threatens to destabilize the already fractious town. Just two of the problems faced by DI Nicholas Lowry, along with a crumbling marriage, pressure from his 'old school' boss and intimations of his own advancing age represented by younger colleagues and his creaking body; 1983 does not look like being a happy new year.

James Henry cut his teeth writing three well received prequels to RD Wingfield's Jack Frost novels; while this book is the first in a series featuring characters of his own creation and it's a cracker.

Henry captures perfectly the slightly shabby atmosphere of provincial life in the early eighties and the tensions unique to Colchester, a garrison town where soldiers and the locals have been at odds since Roman times.

He doesn't waste time trying to re-invent the wheel in the way some thriller writers do in an attempt at gaining literary credibility. Instead he delivers a solid, no nonsense police procedural that could have been written as well as set in 1983, that is by no means a criticism. Henry is aware of the required marks for plot, pace and characterization and hits each one with devastating accuracy.

What he adds to this is an awareness that he is writing about a time of rapid and dramatic change. The point where the cauliflower ear coppers represented by Lowry and his boss were being superseded by ambitious young graduates more familiar with the seminar room than the streets.

If the subsequent installments are up to the standard set by this brilliant opener then this could be a series to be looked forward to.

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