I really enjoyed meeting Detective Max Wolfe (and his daughter Scout) in the first book of this series, The Murder Bag. I read the first three, but it’s only now I discover this is number six, that I realise I’ve missed some.#taken
by Tony Parsons
Series: Max Wolfe #6
Published by Century
on April 18th 2019
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
ISBN: 1780895968, 9781780895963
#taken in the night
They thought they were kidnapping the mistress of one of London’s most powerful gangsters. But they’ve taken the wrong woman. And crossed the wrong detective.
Detective Max Wolfe's hunt for the missing woman takes him from New Scotland Yard’s legendary Black Museum to the glittering mansions of career criminals, from sleazy strip joints to secret sex dungeons – and to unspeakably dark deeds committed decades ago.
#taken to the limit
It’s a world of family secrets, sexual jealousy, and a lust for revenge – which might also become Wolfe’s grave…
I commented in my review of Parsons’ first book in the series that it was apparently a new genre for him. There were a few weaknesses in the plots of the earlier novels – they were perhaps not as robust as I would have liked – but his character development is fabulous and I immediately fell in love with the pragmatic Wolfe and his delightful daughter Scout.
A few years have passed since the first book (Scout is now 8) and her mother has been on and off the scene.
The book opens as dance teacher Jessica is #taken and as she’s the flatmate of a once-notorious gangster’s lover (god, that’s long-winded!) it seems it’s an obvious case of mistaken identity.
Harry Flowers, the gangster in question seems to have gone legit over recent years, or at least is better at hiding his illicit activities. But there’s no doubting his concern for Jessica and his sense of guilt over her kidnapping (and likely murder).
As is usually the case, Parsons directs Wolfe to the Black Museum for information about Flower’s infamous past. It’s a little irrelevant but gives us a sense of Flowers’ lack of mercy and and the stakes of Flowers, and his every henchmen, in the present.
The fact Jessica’s father is a retired cop and taking matters into his own hands; as well as the secrets Jessica and her flatmate are keeping … all add to the complexity of the case and challenges facing Wolfe, who (as usual) ‘mostly’ plays by the rules.
Interestingly there’s reference to a sex (private members’ club) in this book and I was simultaneously watching the 2016 TV series Guilt, which features something similar so had to make sure the two didn’t get confused in my little mind! And though there are links to sex slaves / illegal immigrants and exotic dancers, it was a little left field and I was reminded it occasionally feels as if the errant threads Parsons introduces don’t always entirely fit.
However, the strength of these books continue for me to be Parsons’ characters – the ones we know as well as the way he portrays the baddies: the suspects and the red herrings as there’s something decidedly real about them, even if occasionally larger than life.
I probably should go back to read the couple of this series I missed (and I’m not sure how / when I missed them!) but I look forward to what comes next as I continue to enjoy my journey with father and daughter.
#taken by Tony Parsons will be published by (Century) Penguin Books UK and available from 18 April 2019.
I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.