Blunt Force by Lynda La Plante

Blunt Force Cover

Publisher: Zaffre (Trade Paperback -25 August 2020)

Series: Tennison – Book Six

Length: 415 pages

My Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars

The leading lady of crime fiction, Lynda La Plante, returns with another compelling entry in her excellent Tennison series, Blunt Force.

Lynda La Plante is a talented screenwriter and author who has been a leading figure in crime fiction since the 1980s with her combination of enjoyable novels and popular television shows and movies.  Some of her notable works include Widows, which has been alternatively a novel, a television series and a film, the Trial and Retribution television series, and several other novels that have been inspired by La Plante’s various television shows, specials or films.  Perhaps her most impressive piece of fiction is the iconic British television series, Prime Suspect, which ran in the early 1990s (with follow-up seasons running in 2003 and 2006), starring Helen Mirren as the lead character, Jane Tennison.  This show was immensely popular, and in recent years La Plante has started revisiting the character by doing a series of prequel novels that follow a young Jane Tennison in the 1970s and 80s, starting with 2015’s Tennison.  Not only did Tennison inspire the Prime Suspect 1973 television series but it was also resulted in several sequel novels.  I have been rather enjoying this series over the last couple of years (check out my reviews for Good Friday, Murder Mile and The Dirty Dozen), and I was excited when I recently received my copy of the sixth book in the series, Blunt ForceBlunt Force is set in the early 1980s and continues to follow Tennison on her journey to become the respected investigator we see in the original television show.

After being unfairly kicked out of the high-profile Flying Squad, Detective Sergeant Jane Tennison’s career is on a downward trajectory.  Assigned to the sleepy police station of Gerald Road in London’s affluent Knightsbridge area, Jane must content with working petty crimes and minor offenses.  However, a good murder is always just around the corner for Jane, as a gruesome and bloody crime scene is discovered on her beat containing a brutally disembowelled body.

The victim, Charlie Foxley, was a well-known celebrity agent, representing a multitude of the richest and most influential actors, models and writers on the planet.  However, he was also a cruel and vindictive man whose ruthless business practices, sordid personal life and complicated familiar bonds leaves behind a raft of potential suspects who each had a very real reason to kill him.  In order to catch this murderer, Jane and her colleagues will need to dive into the dazzling world of show business to find out more about their victim.  But not everything is as innocent or glamorous as it first appears, and Jane must get to the bottom of Foxley’s dodgy dealings if she is to solve the case.

La Plante has once again produced an exciting and compelling crime fiction novel that explores the earlier life of her long-running protagonist.  This a particularly great read that combines a fantastic and clever murder mystery with an intriguing historical period and La Plante’s trademark examination of sexism in the London police force.  Just like the prior books in the series, Blunt Force is an extremely accessible novel and readers who are unfamiliar with the previous Tennison novels or the Prime Suspect television series can easily dive into this story without any issues.  That being said, established La Plante/Prime Suspect fans will no doubt really enjoy seeing how Jane’s character continues to evolve throughout the course of the series as well as witnessing her investigate another significant case from earlier in her career.

Blunt Force mainly revolves around the brutal murder of a celebrity agent who is found butchered in his apartment.  This leads to quite an intense and elaborate murder investigation as Tennison and her colleagues dive into the life of the deceased agent and attempt to find out who killed him.  The case goes into some very interesting directions as La Plante loads up the book with a ton of plausible misleads, multiple potential suspects with compelling motives, conflicting police politics and a whole load of misdirects.  This includes a collection of duplicitous celebrities and rival agents, shady characters who the victim had dealings with and a particularly unhinged ex-wife who is definitely hiding something.  The story follows Tennison and several of her fellow detectives as they methodically examine each new lead that comes up.  I liked the realistic and evenly paced investigation storyline, with police slowly working their way through suspects by questioning them multiple times, collecting and analysing new evidence and looking for inconsistencies in stories and claims.  The eventual solution for the murder turned out to be quite clever, and I liked how it required Tennison to dive deep into the victim’s life and profession to come up with a hidden motivation.  The author ensures there is some decent foreshadowing about who the killer is, although I did not see the eventual reveal coming, and I was quite satisfied with the result.  Overall, this was a fantastic murder mystery storyline and I had an amazing time seeing it all come together.

As with the rest of the novels in the Tennison series, La Plante uses Blunt Force to explore and critique the historical institutional sexism that existed within the Metropolitan police.  This is always a fascinating and relevant element to the story, and La Plante does a fantastic job showing both overt and more subtle examples of what Tennison has to go through as one of the few female detectives in the force at this time.  There are several notable inclusions in this novel, from Jane being unfairly dismissed from the Flying Squad, the condescension of her peers, rumours of the reasons why she left the Flying Squad being spread around the office and some new superiors doubting her ability and observations as a result.  However, one of the most noticeable elements of this is the disconnect between Jane and her colleagues over investigating elements of the motive for the murder.  Through the course of her work, Jane is able to identify the real reason Foxley is killed and wants to further investigate that, as well as attempting to help/find another potential victim.  However, her male colleagues, more concerned with the big, glamorous murder, ignore this part of the case, leaving Jane frustrated and a little disenchanted with her colleagues.  I really appreciated these scenes within Blunt Force, especially as La Plante writes them extremely well and it was a distinctive and compelling part of the story.

In addition to this there is also a rather intriguing subplot that deals with Tennison getting involved with the infamous Operation Countryman.  Operation Countryman was an anti-police-corruption investigation that ran in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and featured members of rural police forces investigating the London police.  This investigation has been mentioned and discussed several times in the previous Tennison novels, especially in the prior book The Dirty Dozen, and it finally comes to a head in Blunt Force.  Throughout the course of this book Jane is approached and recruited by members of Operation Countryman due to her work with the Flying Squad and some of the corruption that was implied in the prior books.  This proves to be a really fascinating part of the story, especially as La Plante cleverly brings in events from previous Tennison adventures, revealing some fantastic forward planning on her part, as well as tying this storyline into some of the real-life targets of the operation.  I also liked how this tied into the rest of the narrative contained within Blunt Force, as much of the protagonist’s motivation to help remove a certain corrupt cop could be attributed to her frustrations with the main investigation.  This was a very interesting part of the story, and I look forward to seeing if La Plante features more of Operation Countryman in her future novels, perhaps showing what sort of backlash Tennison faces from her colleagues for assisting the operation take down a fellow cop.

The always impressive Lynda La Plante has once again delivered an exciting and captivating novel with Blunt Force.  This was a fantastic book that not only contains a gripping and clever murder mystery but which continues the dramatic and intriguing tale of one of La Plante’s most iconic protagonists, Jane Tennison.  This was an amazing entry in the Tennison series, and I look forward to seeing what crime the protagonist finds herself involved with next year.

WWW Wednesday – 2 September 2020

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words, where bloggers share the books that they’ve recently finished, what they are currently reading and what books they are planning to read next. Essentially you have to answer three questions (the Three Ws):

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So, let’s get to it.

What are you currently reading?

V2 by Robert Harris (Ebook)

V2 Cover

V2 is the latest historical fiction novel from bestselling author Robert Harris.  This new book follows a World War II espionage mission to stop the German’s deadly V2 rocket attacks.  I only started this one today, but so far it is proving to be a rather interesting read.

Relentless by R. A. Salvatore (Audiobook)

Relentless Cover

I started listening to this a few days ago and I have been powering through it ever since.  Relentless is the final book in the latest trilogy of Drizzt Do’Urden novels, following on from Timeless and Boundless.  This has so far been another epic read from Salvatore and I am having an amazing time listening to it.  I cannot wait to see how this current trilogy ends and I should hopefully finish this audiobook off in the next day or so.

What did you recently finish reading?

Blunt Force by Lynda La Plante (Trade Paperback)

Blunt Force Cover


Harrow the Ninth
 by Tamsyn Muir (Audiobook)

Harrow the Ninth Cover


The Space Between Worlds
by Micaiah Johnson (Trade Paperback)

The Space Between Worlds Cover

What do you think you’ll read next?

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini (Trade Paperback)

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars Cover

 

That’s it for this week, check back in next Wednesday to see what progress I’ve made on my reading and what books I’ll be looking at next.

WWW Wednesday – 26 August 2020

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words, where bloggers share the books that they’ve recently finished, what they are currently reading and what books they are planning to read next. Essentially you have to answer three questions (the Three Ws):

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So, let’s get to it.

What are you currently reading?

Blunt Force by Lynda La Plante (Trade Paperback)

Blunt Force Cover

I am about halfway through this book at the moment and so far it is pretty good.  It has a great murder mystery story behind it as the protagonists are forced to deal with the outrageous world of celebrity agents back in the 1980s.  I’m looking forward to seeing where this intriguing story ends up and it is a lot of fun.

Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (Audiobook)

Harrow the Ninth Cover

I should finish this audiobook off tomorrow.  This is one hell of a book with a wonderfully weird and complicated plot that I am really enjoying.

What did you recently finish reading?

Execution by S. J. Parris (Trade Paperback)

Execution Cover

What do you think you’ll read next?

Relentless by R. A. Salvatore (Audiobook)

Relentless Cover

 
That’s it for this week, check back in next Wednesday to see what progress I’ve made on my reading and what books I’ll be looking at next.

WWW Wednesday – 19 August 2020

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words, where bloggers share the books that they’ve recently finished, what they are currently reading and what books they are planning to read next. Essentially you have to answer three questions (the Three Ws):

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So, let’s get to it.

What are you currently reading?

Execution by S. J. Parris (Trade Paperback)

Execution Cover

I have been meaning to read this book for a couple of weeks now, so I was glad when I finally got the opportunity to start Execution.  I am about halfway through it at the moment and I am really enjoying it.  This is a great historical murder mystery/thriller and I am looking forward to seeing how it ends.

Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (Audiobook)

Harrow the Ninth Cover

I have not made too much progress with this audiobook since last week, but I am hoping to finish it off by next Wednesday.  This is a pretty captivating and complex novel, although you definitely need to read the preceding novel, Gideon the Ninth, first.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin (Trade Paperback)

The Night Swim Cover

What do you think you’ll read next?

Blunt Force by Lynda La Plante (Trade Paperback)

Blunt Force Cover

 

That’s it for this week, check back in next Wednesday to see what progress I’ve made on my reading and what books I’ll be looking at next.

Book Haul – 10 August 2020

Over the last couple of weeks I have been lucky enough to receive a fantastic collection of recent and upcoming releases.  Most of these books are pretty amazing and a couple are some of my most anticipated releases for the second half of the year.  As a result, I thought I best do a book haul post in order to share what I have gotten.  Each of the following books should be pretty fantastic and I look forward to reading them all.

 

How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It by K. J. Parker

How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It

The first book I am going to feature on this list is How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It by K. J. Parker.  This is an incredible novel that I have been really looking forward to as it serves as a sequel to one of my favourite books of last year, Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City.  I have actually already finished How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It (I honestly could not resist reading it) and it turned out to be another outstanding and wildly entertaining read.  I am hoping to get a review up for it soon, and I am planning to award it a full five-star rating due to how amazing it is.


Execution
by S. J. Parris

Execution Cover

Execution is an awesome sounding historical murder mystery that I have been eagerly awaiting for some time.  I am a big fan S. J. Parris’s Giordano Bruno series of books and I look forward to seeing how its fantastic sounding mystery unravels.

Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Moonflower Murders Cover

Now this one sounds interesting.  The Moonflower Murders is a new murder mystery novel from bestselling author Anthony Horowitz, and it has a rather cool premise to it.  This should prove to be an interesting read and I look forward to seeing how it turns out.


To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
by Christopher Paolini

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars Cover

This is another one that I have been really looking forward to for a long time.  To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is an impressive sounding science fiction epic from Christopher Paolini, author of the iconic Inheritance Cycle series of young adult fantasy novels.  I am a major fan of Paolini’s prior novels and I am rather excited to see how his new book turns out.  To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is a pretty massive book, so I am going to have to carve out a bit of time read it properly.


Hidden in Plain Sight
by Jeffrey Archer

Hidden in Plain Sight Cover

Hidden in Plain Sight is the upcoming book from Jeffery Archer which will serve as a sequel to his 2019 release Nothing Ventured.  This new book looks set to feature some intriguing new criminal cases for the protagonist and I am excited to read this book soon.

Malorie by Josh Malerman

Malorie Cover

Malorie is an intriguing sounding novel that will serve as a sequel to Bird Box, Malerman’s best selling novel.  I am not too familiar with Bird Box, but this sequel sounds rather interesting and I am curious to see what happens in it.

Blunt Force by Lynda La Plante

Blunt Force Cover

The final book featured in this article is Blunt Force by Lynda La Plante, which is the sixth book in the Jane Tennison series.  The Jane Tennison novels are a great historical murder mystery series that serve as a prequel to La Plante’s Prime Suspect television series.  I have been really enjoying these compelling books (make sure to check out my reviews for Good Friday, Murder Mile and The Dirty Dozen) and I cannot wait to see what happens in this latest entry.

 

That’s it for this latest Book Haul post.  Let me know which books interest you the most in the comments and I will try to get to them sooner. Now, I better get back to reading.

WWW Wednesday – 11 September 2019

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words, where bloggers share the books that they’ve recently finished, what they are currently reading and what books they are planning to read next. Essentially you have to answer three questions (the Three Ws):

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So, let’s get to it.

What are you currently reading?

Dirty Dozen, Extinction Machine.png

The Dirty Dozen by Lynda La Plante (Trade Paperback)

Hoping to finish this one off tonight.  It’s another great addition to the Jane Tennison series that is really worth checking out.

Extinction Machine by Jonathan Maberry (Audiobook)

With the next Joe Ledger series from Jonathan Maberry starting in a few months, I thought I would try to get further into this series.  Only a few hours in to this one already, but I think I will be giving this one another five-star review.

What did you recently finish reading?

Since my last WWW Wednesday I have finished off a few good books.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (Hardcover)

Gideon the Ninth Cover


The Possession
by Michael Rutger (Audiobook)

The Possession Cover


Star Trek: The Original Series – The Antares Maelstrom
by Greg Cox (Audiobook)

Star Trek - The Antares Maelstrom Cover

Assassin’s Code by Jonathan Maberry (Audiobook)

Assassin's Code Cover.jpg

This was another outstanding entry in the Joe Ledger series and I am hoping to get a review of this one done soon.  In the mean time check out my reviews for some of the other books in this series including Patient Zero, The Dragon Factory, The King of Plagues and Deep Silence.

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Man That Got Away by Lynne Truss (Trade Paperback)

The Man That Got Away Cover


That’s it for this week.  I’m going to be busy in the next few weeks so it might be a little while until I do WWW Wednesday again, but make sure to check back later to see what progress I’ve made on my reading and what books I’ll be looking at next.

WWW Wednesday – 21 August 2019

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words, where bloggers share the books that they’ve recently finished, what they are currently reading and what books they are planning to read next. Essentially you have to answer three questions (the Three Ws):

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So, let’s get to it.

What are you currently reading?

Harp of Kings, Red Metal.png

The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier (Trade Paperback)

I am about 100 or so pages into this one so far and it is pretty interesting.  Hopefully I will finish it off in the next couple of days and get a review up of it soon.

Red Metal by Mark Greaney and Lt. Col. H. Ripley Rawlings IV. USMC (Audiobook)

Currently just over half way through Red Metal and I am still really enjoying this book.  Just as I predicted, this is a great military thriller and the authors do a fantastic job of showing off a major, modern day conflict.


What did you recently finish reading?

It has been a bit of a slow week for me reading wise, as I have only managed to finish off one book.  Still it was a pretty intriguing read and I am looking to pick up the slack in the next few days.

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett (Trade Paperback)

The Grace Year Cover


What do you think you’ll read next?

Dirty Dozen, The Possession.png

The Dirty Dozen by Lynda La Plante (Trade Paperback)

The Possession by Michael Rutger (Audiobook)

Both of the above books sound like they will be amazing reads and I have had good experiences with the previous entries in their respective series.  As always, what I read next may change, depending on if I get some cool new books.

That’s it for this week, check back in next Wednesday to see what progress I’ve made on my reading and what books I’ll be looking at next.

Book Haul – 29 July 2019

I’ve had another great week on the book front, getting my hands on several excellent sounding novels that I think I will have an amazing time reading in the near future.  I’ve got a pretty interesting mixture of books and I am looking forward to checking them out.

The Dirty Dozen by Lynda La Plante

The Dirty Dozen Cover.jpg

The latest book in La Plante’s fantastic Jane Tennison thriller series, which acts as a prequel to author’s Prime Suspect television show.  I’ve really enjoyed the last two books in the series, Good Friday and Murder Mile, and the plot of The Dirty Dozen sounds really cool.

The Warehouse by Rob Hart

The Warehouse Cover.jpg

This sounds like a really interesting piece of science fiction, especially as it looks at some current social issues.

The Second Sleep by Robert Harris

The Second Sleep Cover.jpg

This is one that I am going to have to read as soon as possible.  I have read some of Robert Harris’ stuff in the past and he has written some great pieces of historical fiction before.  However, I’ve been informed that there are some interesting twists occurring quite early on in the book.  I haven’t gotten any more details than that, but I am extremely curious to see what happens.

Shoot Through by J. M. Green

Shoot Through Cover.jpg

This is a fun sounding Australian thriller, I am looking forward to checking this out.

Wild by Nathan Besser

Wild Cover.jpg

Another intriguing historical fiction novel, this one sounds like it could be quite a compelling read, and I look forward to checking out this unique historical tale.

Spaceside by Michael Mammay

Spaceside Cover

I was lucky enough to get an advanced e-copy of Spaceside this week.  Spaceside is a book I have been looking forward to for a while, as the first book in the series, Planetside, was one of my favourite books of last year.  I have so far featured Spaceside in one of my Waiting on Wednesday articles and my recent Top Ten Most Anticipated July-December 2019 list and I hope I love it as much as Planetside.

That’s this week’s book haul.  I better start diving into these books, so much to read, so little time.