Book review: A Taste of Blood by Lynda LaPlante

Thursday, August 24, 2023 Permalink

I think I’ve mentioned in my last couple of reviews of this young Jane Tennison series, that we must almost be at a point where we first met DCI Jane Tennison in the Prime Suspect series.  Here it felt were getting closer as  A Taste of Blood features an ‘early’ mobile phone… albeit one that acted more like a pager; and Jane and her colleagues get briefed on this FABULOUS new forensic tool – DNA!

I discovered my posits were correct (as they always are of course! 🙄 ) as I saw the author herself mentioned on Twitter that there will be ONE more in this series!

Book review: A Taste of Blood by Lynda LaPlanteA Taste of Blood
by Lynda La Plante
Series: Tennison #9
Published by Bonnier Zaffre
on 17/08/2023
Source: Allen & Unwin
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
ISBN: 177061098
Pages: 400

Detective Jane Tennison made a bad choice.

She was the one who put in a transfer to the quiet, local police station in Bromley, keen to escape the relentless pressure of her former West End department.

Now she regrets her decision. The tedium of petty crime investigations even makes her question remaining in the force.

But then a complicated domestic assault case lands on her desk - one that might still result in a murder charge if the victim dies of his injuries.

The warring neighbours who witnessed the assault intrigue Jane. The case has a sinister underbelly, she can sense it. And when Jane discovers a handsome young boy had recently disappeared after the tragic death of his girlfriend, every family in the private close becomes a suspect.

As Tennison hunts for the link between the crimes, she uncovers a truth more shocking than she could have contemplated. One that will either make her career - or break it.

LaPlante has skipped forward in time a little here. At the end of Dark Rooms Jane was about to embark on a relationship with the builder renovating her house. I recall having some reservations and thought something hinky could be afoot (though I am not very trusting and have a very suspicious mind!). Here, the pair are living together and engaged to be married. Though from the moment the book opens Jane seems restless, with much of Eddie’s behaviour grating on her. The ‘Jane’ we met in Prime Suspect, in the early 1990s is kinda prickly so I guess we’re on that journey (sorry!) with her to see her become hardened (though still compassionate). Less tolerant and her expectations heightened.

Jane’s at a bit of a turning point in her career here and disillusioned with the Met, so moved to a station closer to home. It’s only got a small CID team but she’s looking forward to meeting her new DCI – a woman, a rarity back in (what I’m assuming to be the late 1980s or early 90s). Unfortunately the cases on offer are less-than-appealing and she’s assigned to one involving warring neighbours. Happily for Jane however (!!!) one neighbour allegedly hit another on the head with a shovel and could very well be charged with murder if the victim dies. Jane finds herself embroiled in the neighbourhood squabbles, but soon becomes suspicious that there’s an underlying agenda – though I do know people can become very impassioned about fence-lines and the like.

I think it’s fairly easy to see where this is heading (and it’s a little similar to its predecessor, Dark Rooms) in that the present and past collide with long-buried secrets bubbling to the surface despite efforts to the contrary, but as usual LaPlante adds a lot of layers to the unfolding mystery.

When I have time – perhaps when I retire – I’d like to read the entire young Jane Tennison series back to back, starting with Tennison (set in the early 1970s). Because even though I’m reading each instalment a year or more apart, the changes in Jane are quite fascinating. I guess LaPlante has always known ‘who’ Jane becomes and just needed to plot her voyage there.

A Taste of Blood by Lynda LaPlante was published in Australia by Allen and Unwin and is now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 


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