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by Graham Hurley
Orion, January 2008
368 pages
9.99 GBP
ISBN: 0752868845

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

By rights Graham Hurley should be one of the big names in UK crime fiction. But maybe it's because TV has to date steered clear of his meticulous police procedurals. That might change, though, as he is apparently writing the script for a dramatisation of his standalone Sabbathman.

His DI Joe Faraday series has ticked along very impressively, and if you aren't familiar with it, search it out now. Faraday might not be the most go-getting of heroes, and his laid-back nature might be part of the reason why TV hasn't come calling. The same can't be said, though, for DC Paul Winter, a character who walks a narrow line between the light and the dark.

THE PRICE OF DARKNESS is the eighth in the series and it's one of Hurley's best. It's a series that took me some time to appreciate, mainly because of the slow pace of the books and the sketchiness of many of the characters. But I'm now firmly a convert, thanks to the plotting and the storytelling.

Jonathan Mallinder is a property developer who seems to be Mr Nice Guy. So there are no obvious suspects when he's found dead in a luxury flat with a bullet to the head. Faraday and his team don't seem to be getting anywhere fast, and it's double trouble when a government minister is shot dead on the patch.

Paul Winter, meanwhile, has gone over to the dark side. He's the maverick cop who, for me, has been the main reason to read this series. A drink-driving rap saw him leave the force, and he's now working for Portsmouth's dodgy Mr Big, Bazza Mackenzie. But as always with Winter, there's more to it than meets the eye.

THE PRICE OF DARKNESS is a tad slow to get going, and once it's into its stride, it's like an ocean liner you won't be turning this book round at speed! But it's dark, gritty, engrossing and totally believable.

There's plenty of meat promised for the next book, with Winter's life-changing decision at the end of THE PRICE OF DARKNESS, along with unresolved issues in Faraday's private life concerning son J-J and French girlfriend Gabrielle.

If you're new to the series, don't start with THE PRICE OF DARKNESS. Go back to the beginning and see how a good writer becomes an outstanding one as the books progress and he refines his art.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, December 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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