Blackwater – James Henry

Set in the early 1980s in Colchester, this novel sounded promising, with many ingredients I would associate with a good detective story. After a promising start – New Year’s Eve and a couple of young me trying to deliver a huge drug shipment but getting lost in the fog, whilst almost simultaneously a decapitated body is found on the route to their delivery spot.
Sadly, after that, for me at least, it seemed to go downhill. Nick Lowry – hero of the piece – approached the New Year determined to give up smoking and the police boxing team. Jacqui, his wife seems more interested in having fun with various work colleagues than working out why her marriage is encountering difficulties. The plot is basically a good one, but there is so much superfluous detail, that it’s difficult to work out what is important and what isn’t. The story would have been enhanced for me if some of the inconsequential detail was lost, and the book left 50 or so pages shorter. Some of the characters were developed well, particularly the police, and I suspect this is so they can appear in following books without further introduction.
A light read, longer than it should be, in my opinion, but not the exciting story it first promised to be. Thanks are due to the publishers, Quercus Books for providing a prerelease copy for review, via Netgalley.


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