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GOOD BAIT (AUDIO)
by John Harvey, read by Adjoa Andoh
Whole Story Audio Books, May 2012
Unabridged pages
20.41 GBP
ISBN: 147120197X


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

John Harvey is a hack writer in the best possible way. He's the author of nigh on one hundred books, and there's no pretence to his writing what you get is a bleak, spare style that can paint a picture in a few words. So it's odd to have to report that his latest offering, GOOD BAIT, is a sprawling tale that needs cutting in half.

The main focus of the book is ostensibly DCI Karen Shields. She needs a result, and fast, to counter her smarmy sexist and racist boss's claim that she's playing the minority card.

Karen is called in when the body of a young Moldovan boy is found in a Hampstead pond. Her team is comprised of her veteran bagman DS Mike Ramsden and university-educated Tim Costello, a Liverpool lad with Irish and Chinese parents. Their enquiries take them from tatty multiple occupancy houses to posh flats and uncover people smuggling, drugs and gang warfare.

Then there's the Cornish plot thread, with DI Trevor Cordon. He's not far off retirement, but doesn't want to give his bosses the pleasure of seeing him retire early. The disappearance in London of a young woman he'd known some years back causes him to take some leave and to try to work out what happened to Rose Carlin.

Harvey has really got two books in one here. One of the problems is that he disappears off to Cornwall for a chapter or two, and by the time he's back in London, I'd forgotten what was going on. And once the action hots up in the city, there's a cast of millions (of baddies) being introduced and you need a cast list to keep track of them. Without giving too much away, the two plotlines meet briefly, and it's not tricky to work out how that's going to happen.

It's not a bad book Adjoa Andoh's feisty narration keeps it ticking over. She deals with the Cornish accents without sounding like she's escaped from Poldark, but is briefly stumped by a Scottish one that sounds like Sean Connery trying to do Noo Yawk! She's best on Karen, spirited actress friend Carla and Mike Ramsden, an old-style copper who's obviously escaped from The Sweeney.

Sharon Wheeler is a UK-based journalist, writer and lecturer.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, May 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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