Book review: Blunt Force by Lynda LaPlante

Tuesday, August 18, 2020 Permalink

In my review of the previous book in the (young) Jane Tennison series (The Dirty Dozen) I commented that I thought Jane was finally becoming more accepted by her male colleagues. Of course in that book she’d been appointed to the Flying Squad (the Sweeney) and very excited about it until she learned she was part of an experiment and—of course—things didn’t go as planned.

When Blunt Force opens she’s still a Detective Sergeant but posted to a small station and bored shitless. She’s there with colleague Spencer who’s also in the bad books and been sidelined. On a positive note… though she still seems to be the one fetching lunch and making tea and coffee, she and her abilities as a copper seem to be respected by her new colleagues.

Happily for Jane (and Spencer) they pick up a grisly murder case so get to escape the boring pickpockets and petty thefts.

Book review: Blunt Force by Lynda LaPlanteBlunt Force
by Lynda La Plante
Series: Tennison #6
Published by Allen & Unwin AU
on 18/08/2020
Source: Allen & Unwin
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
ISBN: 9781785769863
Pages: 412

Things can't get much worse for detective Jane Tennison. Unceremoniously kicked off the adrenaline-fuelled Flying Squad, she now plies her trade in Gerald Road, a small and sleepy police station in the heart of London's affluent Knightsbridge.

With only petty crime to sink her teeth into, Tennison can feel her career slowly flatlining. That is until the discovery of the most brutal murder Jane has ever seen: Charlie Foxley has been found viciously beaten to death with a cricket bat - his body dismembered and disembowelled.

As a big-time theatrical agent, Foxley had a lot of powerful friends - but just as many enemies. And alongside her old friend DS Spencer Gibbs, Tennison must journey into the salacious world of show business to find out which one is the killer, before they strike again.

This sixth in the young Jane Tennison series is another great read and La Plante continues to consistently deliver.

I commented in my last two reviews that I was happy La Plante was settling for the one ‘mystery’ per book rather than several as was the case when this series kicked off. Even though some overlapped eventually it felt as if there were too many coincidences and both ‘whodunnits’ sometimes felt a little underdone. Here it’s not the case and the murder of Charles Foxley is front and centre. The police are told Foxley was a bit of a prick (professionally) but in reality it seems few could have hated him enough to kill him so viciously. Of course he has his secrets and we delve into the world of prostitution and S & M. And I must admit I was actually surprised with the maturity and lack of shock it was accepted by the police officers involved given this must be set some time in the 1980s or so.

La Plante uses her knowledge of the entertainment industry to give us some insight into the games played behind the scenes. And she adds texture through the victim’s complicated personal life, giving us a sense of the man who’s dead before our arrival on the scene.

I experienced a sense of ‘head hopping’ on a couple of occasions. La Plante delivers the narrative from several points of view, but occasionally it felt as if I was privy to a thought or insight I shouldn’t have been.

I very much liked Tennison’s new boss (DCI Tyler) here and wondered if she’ll stay put so we meet him again. In the past she’s moved stations in each outing, though we’ve been given a few consistent support cast members along the way.

La Plante ends this in a way that offers closure but doesn’t entirely giving us justice and I love that we continue to see how / why young Jane Tennison becomes the character we ultimately meet again in the Prime Suspect series.

Blunt Force by Lynda LaPlante was published in Australia by Allen & Unwin and now available.

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


Comments are closed.