Ali Karim is a Board Member of Bouchercon [The World Crime & Mystery Convention] and co-chaired programming for Bouchercon Raleigh, North Carolina in 2015. He is Assistant Editor of Shots eZine, British correspondent for The Rap Sheet and writes and reviews for many US magazines & Ezines.
This companion piece to Peter James International Bestselling Roy Grace thrillers is written in partnership with Graham Bartlett, a former Sussex Beat Police Officer, who in a thirty year career rose to become Chief Superintendent.
It is essential reading for those who wish to delve into the world of the police procedural; for its title is not prefaced as “Policing Roy Graces Brighton” for nothing.
With a fine foreword by James himself, it sets the scene for an engaging series of recollections from Bartlett whose writing is easy going and gently striated with humour as well as professional insights that are as enlightening as they are interesting. Much of the humour is pretty black, due to some of the darker investigations contained in this book, such as the psychopath and murderer Paul Teed, as well as the changing face of the underworld with the advent of drug gangs.
There’s little of the expected “thin blue line” vernacular or “….the suspects proceeded in a northerly direction….” as the editing is judicious, making it flow almost like the chapters of a novel, urging you to read more of these inside peeps into real-life police procedural investigations.
Particular mention should be made of the case of forgers David Henty and Clifford Wake, for this investigation made me laugh out loud; and if I was not made aware it was factual, I would have thought it too incredible for fiction, between laughing fits.
Though marketed as a companion piece to Peter James’ Roy Grace novels, it is more. No doubt James’ readers will be grabbing this intriguing work because of the link to Grace; and there is plenty of reason to do so. However, I think it stands apart, in so far as it will be of interest to readers of the Police Procedural in general, be they readers of John Rebus, Alan Banks, Morse, Wexford, Dalgliesh et. al. as the popularity and international appeal of the British Police Detective never seems to abate and this book is perfect for the enthusiast.
With a thirty year career which culminated in his becoming Police Commander, I am sure that Graham Bartlett has plenty of other anecdotes and memories for sharing; and am urging his publishers for a second volume.
For once the adage, “fact is far stranger than fiction” is totally apt for this book.
Highly recommended for the reader of the Police Procedural; and of course the dedicated Peter James reader.