Book review: The Promised Land by Barry Maitland

Sunday, January 6, 2019 Permalink

I’ve talked again and again here (and in my most recent crime fiction / thriller reviews just last week) about the challenges of discovering a series part-way through. I prefer to start at the beginning. Cos I’ve heard it’s a very good place to start. You apparently begin with ABC and… oops #sorrynotsorry… couldn’t help myself.

Anyhoo, upon receiving this book (which I’d requested cos the plot sounded interesting) I discovered it was part of a series. And then I opened it to discover it was number 13!!! So I worried – how on earth would I have any idea who anyone was etc?

Thankfully it wasn’t at all a problem (it’s easily able to be read as a stand-alone) and I was intrigued enough by the series lead characters, our temporary cast and crew and the plot itself that I read it in one night.

Book review: The Promised Land by Barry MaitlandThe Promised Land
by Barry Maitland
Series: Brock & Kolla #13
Published by Allen & Unwin AU
on January 7th 2019
Source: Allen & Unwin
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
ISBN: 9781760632670
Pages: 320

Newly promoted Detective Chief Inspector Kathy Kolla investigates a series of brutal murders on Hampstead Heath. Under intense pressure to find answers, she arrests the unlikely figure of John Pettigrew, a failing London publisher who lives alone on the edge of the Heath.

Pettigrew's lawyer calls on recently retired David Brock for advice, and soon, unable to resist the pull of investigation, the old colleagues, Brock and Kolla, are at loggerheads.

At the heart of the gripping mystery of the Hampstead murders lies a manuscript of an unknown novel by one of the greatest literary figures of the twentieth century. Brock believes that its story will unlock the puzzle, but how?

We’re given snippets of backstory here but I didn’t feel as if I’d missed out on any specific details. Brock is newly retired and at a loose end, and Kolla has recently been promoted and slightly nervous about impressing the bosses. There’s reference to cases the pair have worked in the past.

I should mention I was particularly drawn to one of the threads of this case because of my love of reading and interesting in publishing, as it involves a potentially undiscovered George Orwell novel and via this storyline I learned that GO was – in fact – a pseudonym and that (if this part is true) Eric Blair (ie. GO) wrote about Burma, injustices in terms of the way landowners treated locals and the usual ‘utopia gone wrong’.

I can’t say too much about the unfolding plot, but what begins with the murder of two women – wives of wealthy and influential men – turns into something quite different and Brock (though retired) becomes embroiled by helping out one of the defence lawyers and has the potential to dismantle Kolla’s case; which she so needed to resolve quickly.

This is an intriguing read and the pieces come together at the end. There’s a last-minute twist that was a little weird but I enjoyed this novel nonetheless.

In fact I enjoyed this enough that (time permitting) I’ll go back and visit early books in the series as I liked Kolla and Brock and am intrigued about their backstories… Brock with a once-estranged son with whom he has a new relationship; and Kolla and suggestions about a potential love interest.

The Promised Land by Barry Maitland was published in Australia by Allen & Unwin and is available from 7 January 2019.

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


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