Harm

This is the first book by Fraser and I had no idea what to expect. I have watched him in many episodes of Poirot in the role of Captain Hastings, the loveable, often lost, best friend of the world’s greatest detective.

This story has no relation to Hastings. Rina Walker is a hired gun sent to Mexico to kill a drug king in 1974. Her two associates are killed the next morning and Rina is captured.

We find ourselves in London in 1956 in Chapter 2 where Rina is just 15 living in the projects, trying to keep her younger sister in school and their baby brother alive while their mother drinks all day.

Fraser skips back and forth throughout the book as we learn how Rina got herself into a life of crime and how the current (1974) crime wave is progressing.

If you have no problem with a high body count and with a “hero” who is a cold blooded killer, then you will like this book. It is in very close first person all the way. For example:

The receptionist greets me with vacuous enthusiasm and runs through the checking-in procedure. I obtain a key, repel the busboy and head for the lifts. The foyer dwindles below as I glide to the fifth floor and step out into a long curving corridor that gradually relieves me of my sense of direction as I move along it.

Mike Lawrence

The Dentist

This is book one of the DS Cross series. It is a police procedural. Cross reminds me of Professor T, a Belgian TV series that we watch on PBS. Both the professor and DS Cross are “odd”. Cross is an Asperger person who lives by logic and rules. He can now recognize emotions in people he knows, but fails to detect them in people new to him. He has OCD.

But Cross also has the best arrest rate in the Bristol police force, so he is tolerated.

The dead body appears to be a bum, but Cross soon realizes he is much more. He is the dentist of the title whose wife was murdered years before. Working on the assumption that the two murders are connected, Cross has to sort his way through piles of evidence surrounding a collection of suspects.

It is a good story written by a successful writer and producer of TV and movies. My only complaint is that every few pages we are told yet again that Cross does not think the way other people do. I wish Mr. Sullivan could have assumed we would eventually remember his oddness.

Mike Lawrence