About the Book
A man is murdered with quiet efficiency on his doorstep. A strange emblem left behind suggests a gang killing but when more bodies are found with the same emblem, and one of them a cop, DCI Doug Stirling’s investigation takes a sinister turn. But what linked the victims in life, and now in death?
When more deaths are uncovered, miles away and years ago, all with the same emblem left behind, pressure mounts on Stirling. Is it the work of the same person? If so, why are they killing again, and why here? One thing is clear, the killer is highly skilled, ruthless, and always one step ahead of the investigation. Is someone feeding information to them?
Working in a crippling heatwave with too few investigators, too many questions and not enough answers, when wild media speculation of a vigilante at work sparks copycat attacks, demonstrations for justice and with politicians fearing riots, Stirling needs a result – fast!
Meanwhile, Stirling’s private life is falling apart, not helped when Lena Novak of the National Crime Agency is assigned to his team. But is she all that she seems?
Things could not get worse. Stirling takes a call from a retired cop. Things just got worse! When Stirling closes in on the killer he finds the killer’s trademark inside his home – he is being targeted.
Format: ebook (422 pages) Publisher:
Publication date: 10th January 2021 Genre: Crime
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I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to read Ray Britain’s first novel, The Last Thread, so was delighted when he contacted me to let me know the next book in the DCI Stirling series was due to be published on 10th January 2021.
Given the author’s background, Forgotten Lives is, like its predecessor, incredibly strong on the detail of police procedure – securing a crime scene, conducting house to house enquiries, logging and cross-referencing information on police databases, and so on. It also vividly conveys the realities of modern day policing – budget cuts, resource constraints, interminable paperwork as well as the constant scrutiny, both internal and external, of investigative decisions. Although modern technology, such as drones equipped with thermal imaging now plays a part in an investigation, it’s clear that when it comes to solving crime there’s still no substitute for attention to detail and experience. Indeed Stirling’s mantra is ABC: accept nothing, believe no-one, check everything.
As in the first book, there are elements of Stirling’s past that remain a mystery, even to his closest friends. What is behind the door of that locked room in his house, for instance? As if the long and unsocial hours that come with his job wasn’t enough, he has a history of failed relationships and a reluctance to enter into long-term commitments. I certainly felt sympathy for Stirling’s current partner, Ayesha, as she wonders if they have a future together or whether she’s about to join the long list of his ex-girlfriends.
The author employs the crime novelist’s weapons of choice – misdirection, red herrings and subtle clues that only the incredibly observant are likely to spot – in an effort to wrong-foot the reader. He certainly succeeded with this one who was convinced she had spotted the perpetrator, erroneously as it turned out. As the scope of the investigation widens, the story ventures beyond the realm of the police procedural and into thriller territory with dramatic scenes as he and the team close in on what turns out to be an extremely formidable individual.
Forgotten Lives is a chunkier read than the stated page count would suggest, requiring a staying power from the reader similar to that demanded of the investigation team. However, I’m sure crime fans who enjoy immersing themselves in the nitty gritty of a complex investigation will find the investment of time amply repaid.
My thanks to the author for my digital review copy of Forgotten Lives.
In three words: Realistic, gritty, immersive
Try something similar: Payback by R.C. Bridgestock
About the Author
As a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) Ray Britain led many specialist investigations. He was also a Hostage & Crisis Intervention Negotiator, a voluntary role that saw him involved in hostage situations, many firearms operations and numerous suicide interventions, not all of which ended happily. In those specialist roles he supported national counter-terrorism capabilities and travelled to the USA, India, Europe, Australia and elsewhere. He received several commendations for his work. He also worked with the Serious Fraud Office and the Home Office, London, and the Economic Crime Directorate of the City of London Police.
His second novel Forgotten Lives follows publication of The Last Thread in 2017. Ray’s real-world experience gives an authentic edge to his stories, immersing the reader in the grim realities, uncertainties and frustrations of crime investigation, and of human nature. If not writing Ray might be found mountain hiking, watching rugby, skiing, reading, sailing or in the gym.