What’s it all about?:
An enigmatic policeman – currently the subject of an internal investigation – is found burned to death in his car on the Southend sea front.
A vulnerable young woman, fresh out of the care system, is trying to discover the truth behind the sudden death of her best friend.
As DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell from the Essex Police Major Investigation Team are brought in to solve the mystery that surrounds their colleague’s death, they’re under intense pressure to crack the case without damaging the force’s reputation.
When a dramatic turn of events casts a whole new light on both cases, the way forward is far from clear. Were the victims connected in some way? And just how much should Pearson and Russell reveal to their bosses as they begin to unearth some dark secrets that the force would rather keep buried?
Mark Hardie’s stylish and gripping debut introduces a brilliant new detective duo to the world of crime fiction, weaving together two suspenseful stories that end in a breath-taking finale.
What did I think?:
First of all, a huge thank you to Little, Brown publishers for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and providing me with a copy of Mark Hardie’s debut novel in exchange for an honest review. I may have mentioned in previous posts that I used to read almost exclusively crime fiction, until I started broadening what I read as I found with many crime novels, they were getting a bit “samey,” to me. Therefore, it takes something quite special (usually terrific characters or an intriguing plot) to get me back into reading the genre. Luckily, Burned And Broken had both and I was captivated until the end.
Our two main characters are DS Frank Pearson and his partner DC Catherine (Cat) Russell who are working together to try and piece together the reasons behind the gruesome death of their colleague, DI Carragher killed in suspicious circumstances after his burned body was found in his car. Alongside this story is also the story of a dead young girl, Alicia whose case Carragher was working on before his unfortunate demise. Then there is Donna, best friend of Alicia who is certain that Alicia’s death was no accident and is determined to see her murderer brought to justice. She comes with her own set of issues, raised in the care system, a loner with mental health issues and an adoring friend, Malcolm who follows her like a little shadow. How and why are the two stories linked? And what murky secrets are about to be unearthed as Pearson and Russell go digging?
I really enjoyed many things about this novel. The style of writing was intense and brilliant that shifted from past to present to future without ever muddling or over-complicating the narrative. At times, the pace may feel slightly slow but it all builds up to an explosive finale with many twists and turns to savour. I liked how Pearson and Russell worked as a team but I don’t really feel we got to know them deeply as characters – perhaps this is all to come in further books in the series? My favourite character had to be troubled Donna who was written fantastically. She instantly drew me into her world, where just struggling to survive every day was a huge achievement. As always, it’s a bonus for me if I can’t see the ending coming or guess any of the possible motives/perpetrators and I certainly didn’t with this novel. This is a very promising start to a series from Mark Hardie and I look forward to where he takes the characters next.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):
Mark Hardie was born in 1960 in Bow, East London. He began writing fulltime after completely losing his eyesight in 2002. He has completed a creative writing course and an advanced creative writing course at the Open University, both with distinction.
Mark lives with his wife Debbie in Southend-on-Sea.
You can find Mark on Twitter @MARKHARDIECRIME
On his GoodReads page https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8452087.Mark_Hardie
Thank you once again to Little, Brown publishers for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, I’ve had a really great time doing it! Why not check out the other posts today from my fellow bloggers? Burned And Broken has been released in e-book format and is due to be released in paperback in May 2017.