The Murder Bag – Tony Parsons

Published March 3, 2015 by bibliobeth


What’s it all about?:

The gripping first novel in an explosive new crime series by Tony Parsons, bestselling author of Man and Boy. If you like crime-novels by Ian Rankin and Peter James, you will love this.

Twenty years ago seven rich, privileged students became friends at their exclusive private school, Potter’s Field. Now they have started dying in the most violent way imaginable.

Detective Max Wolfe has recently arrived in the Homicide division of London’s West End Central, 27 Savile Row.

Soon he is following the bloody trail from the back streets and bright lights of the city, to the darkest corners of the internet and all the way to the corridors of power.

As the bodies pile up, Max finds the killer’s reach getting closer to everything – and everyone – he loves.

Soon he is fighting not only for justice, but for his own life …

What did I think?:

The Murder Bag is novelist Tony Parsons first foray into the crime genre, having previous success with his novels that include Man and Boy, Man and Wife and The Family Way which focus on the relationship dramas of thirty-something men. He even coined the phrase “Lad Lit,” to describe what he writes as opposed to “Chick Lit.” I’ve read a couple of these books and did enjoy them but personally speaking, there was no huge “wow” factor for me. As a result, I was a little apprehensive when I saw that his first crime novel was featured on the Richard and Judy Spring Book Club here in the UK. Well, I need fear no longer, it seems that Tony Parsons has found his niche with a fantastic plot-line, brilliant male lead and exciting writing.

Our detective in this story is Max Wolfe, whom when the story begins has just started work in the Homicide Department based in London’s Savile Row. Max is a bit of an adrenalin junkie and doesn’t really play by the conventional rulebook after an incident where a man was killed led to him being transferred/promoted to Homicide run by Detective Chief Inspector Victor Mallory. On his first day on the job, he is introduced to an intriguing case where a banker has had his throat slit quite violently and very professionally. At first, his wife is the most immediate suspect as she had recently caught him being unfaithful but then the plot thickens. The victim had a photo on his desk of himself with friends during his school days at an exclusive private school, Potters Field. A chilling connection is then made when the other boys in the photo (now men) become targets for the murderer save one boy who had killed himself as a young man. So why are these particular men being targeted? What happened twenty years ago that was so horrific that someone may be looking for revenge? Max Wolfe has to unravel the very dangerous mystery behind the brutal killings, protect the men that are left and avoid becoming a target himself.

This is a fast-paced, thrilling and intriguing crime novel that I wasn’t expecting to enjoy as much as I actually did. At first glance, Max Wolfe seems to be your typical action-hero detective who throws himself into the case he is assigned, regardless of the danger to himself but Tony Parsons makes him believable and normal with the addition of small details about his personal life. In other words, he is a single father trying to care for his daughter in the best way that he can, he adores dogs and walking and he is not afraid to admit when he makes a mistake. I loved the mystery and the way that things were revealed piece by piece which led to a brilliant and explosive ending. My only criticism is that the female characters felt a little one-dimensional and it would have been nice to have a stronger female voice alongside the powerhouse that is Max Wolfe. If you’re looking for an action-packed read with some excellent twists and turns however, I definitely recommend this novel and look forward to the next instalment in the series.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):


5 comments on “The Murder Bag – Tony Parsons

  • Wasn’t sure about this (did it not actually come out last year, and has presumably been rereleased for R & J ?) but you’ve done a good job of persuading me! I do like books with things that happened in the past coming back to haunt people, or dual time lines, or cold cases…sounds worth looking out for!

  • Hopping over from the British Books Challenge….

    I’ve been enjoy mysteries set in London recently, to this might fit in that line. I, too, appreciate a strong female character in my mysteries but I can forego it once in a while.

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