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For the tiny Peak District hamlet of Shawhead, there's only one road in and one road out. Its residents are accustomed to being cut off from the world by snow or floods. But when a lorry delivering animal feed is found jammed in the narrow lane, with no sign of the driver except for a blood-stained cab, it's the beginning of something much more sinister. Detective Inspector For the tiny Peak District hamlet of Shawhead, there's only one road in and one road out. Its residents are accustomed to being cut off from the world by snow or floods. But when a lorry delivering animal feed is found jammed in the narrow lane, with no sign of the driver except for a blood-stained cab, it's the beginning of something much more sinister. Detective Inspector Ben Cooper must attempt to unravel the history of secrets, lies and loyalties that will lead to the truth behind the missing lorry driver. But the residents of Shawhead are not used to having strangers in their midst and, while getting to grips with staff changes in E Division, Ben's way forward is far from clear. Will he turn to Detective Sergeant Diane Fry, now working in Special Operations at Nottingham's Major Crimes Unit, for help when the case takes a dramatic turn? A truly outstanding mystery that's packed with foreboding Peak District atmosphere, The Murder Road is a suspense-filled read that reaches a stunningly clever conclusion.


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For the tiny Peak District hamlet of Shawhead, there's only one road in and one road out. Its residents are accustomed to being cut off from the world by snow or floods. But when a lorry delivering animal feed is found jammed in the narrow lane, with no sign of the driver except for a blood-stained cab, it's the beginning of something much more sinister. Detective Inspector For the tiny Peak District hamlet of Shawhead, there's only one road in and one road out. Its residents are accustomed to being cut off from the world by snow or floods. But when a lorry delivering animal feed is found jammed in the narrow lane, with no sign of the driver except for a blood-stained cab, it's the beginning of something much more sinister. Detective Inspector Ben Cooper must attempt to unravel the history of secrets, lies and loyalties that will lead to the truth behind the missing lorry driver. But the residents of Shawhead are not used to having strangers in their midst and, while getting to grips with staff changes in E Division, Ben's way forward is far from clear. Will he turn to Detective Sergeant Diane Fry, now working in Special Operations at Nottingham's Major Crimes Unit, for help when the case takes a dramatic turn? A truly outstanding mystery that's packed with foreboding Peak District atmosphere, The Murder Road is a suspense-filled read that reaches a stunningly clever conclusion.

30 review for The Murder Road

  1. 4 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    Book 15 in the Cooper and Fry series and the first book I have read. Yes, this is starting to become a trend for me reading the latest book in a series. I do that all the time now a day and yes I do prefer to start from the beginning, but most of the time it's actually no problem with starting at the latest book and then go back to the beginning. That is something I will do with this series, especially since I have bought almost every single book in this series as an eBook. I just need the time. Book 15 in the Cooper and Fry series and the first book I have read. Yes, this is starting to become a trend for me reading the latest book in a series. I do that all the time now a day and yes I do prefer to start from the beginning, but most of the time it's actually no problem with starting at the latest book and then go back to the beginning. That is something I will do with this series, especially since I have bought almost every single book in this series as an eBook. I just need the time. A lorry driver is killed in just outside the little picturesque village of Shawhead, on the only road leading in and out of the village. Detective Ben Cooper is the man in charge of the investigation and it seems that many of the people in the village are hiding something. Is the killer living in the village? Why was the lorry driver killed? It seems that to find the answers Cooper must look into the past... I had no problem whatsoever getting into the story. I found Ben Cooper to be a competent and likable character. I did wonder where the hell Diane Fry was, she was hardly in this book's story and I was curious about their relationship, especially since they seem to have been rivals that now are something much more. I'm looking forward to starting the series from the beginning to read more about how they came to be the people they are today. I liked the book, it was engrossing to read and I found it very well written. I received this copy from Witness Impulse through Edelweiss in return for an honest review! Thank you!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    Actual rating 3.5 stars. I received this book for a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you to the author, Stephen Booth, and the publisher, Sphere, for the opportunity. This has in no way impacted my judgement and all opinions are my own. The Murder Road is the 15th installment in the Cooper and Fry crime series and the first book I have read from it. It did not impact my enjoyment or understanding and, from what I have gathered, each book serves as a standalone crime with only the same characters linking Actual rating 3.5 stars. I received this book for a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you to the author, Stephen Booth, and the publisher, Sphere, for the opportunity. This has in no way impacted my judgement and all opinions are my own. The Murder Road is the 15th installment in the Cooper and Fry crime series and the first book I have read from it. It did not impact my enjoyment or understanding and, from what I have gathered, each book serves as a standalone crime with only the same characters linking each book together. The disappearance of a lorry driver and the blockage of the one road in and out of Shawhead is not something the occupants of the small farming village in the Peak District are used to. Their reluctance to cooperate with the police and mingle with each other is something Detective Cooper is unaccustomed to either. While attempting to solve one crime, it seems a whole can of worms has opened and it is now Cooper's job to discover where the driver went, and why, and what exactly the citizens of Shawhead know about it. The setting for this novel was evocatively described and yet, for some reason, I found it hard to imagine my surroundings. Perhaps, in parts, there was an element of this being overly descriptive and historically and geographically accurate that it deterred from the story and impacted my utter alignment and involvement with the tale. This book has a great set of characters and an interesting story line and my only reason for not rating it higher is that I have just binge read Mo Hayder's more shocking crime fiction and am unaccustomed to, and was not expecting, this slower-paced rural crime story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Ok, I'm a little confused: are we heading for some sort of love triangle with Cooper torn between Fry and Villers? If so, what's going on with Diane? She made the briefest of appearances in this book - and possibly won't even appear in the next one. And this after I thought Booth was finally figuring out what to do with the couple. Mystery-wise, the opening really reminded me of another book (turns out it was In the Dark Places by Peter Robinson) but quickly turned into something else. The "why" Ok, I'm a little confused: are we heading for some sort of love triangle with Cooper torn between Fry and Villers? If so, what's going on with Diane? She made the briefest of appearances in this book - and possibly won't even appear in the next one. And this after I thought Booth was finally figuring out what to do with the couple. Mystery-wise, the opening really reminded me of another book (turns out it was In the Dark Places by Peter Robinson) but quickly turned into something else. The "why" was satisfying, but the "how" didn't quite work for me. And the "why" isn't as telegraphed as it might have been, but it is there for those closely following. What didn't work for me was the inclusion of far more Peak District information than usual, at times just sounding like a history brochure rather that organically arising from the plot. ARC provided by publisher.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jo Chambers

    This was a sound British crime novel set in the Peak District, and featuring DI Ben Cooper (and occasionally DS Diane Fry). The crime mystery itself was good. A lorry driver is lured down a country lane leading to a tiny hamlet, where it gets wedged under a railway bridge. He is then brutally murdered. Was it a random attack, or deliberate? It was a good plot and I wanted to keep reading to find out the answers. On the minus side, I found the minutiae of details about roads, tracks, railway line This was a sound British crime novel set in the Peak District, and featuring DI Ben Cooper (and occasionally DS Diane Fry). The crime mystery itself was good. A lorry driver is lured down a country lane leading to a tiny hamlet, where it gets wedged under a railway bridge. He is then brutally murdered. Was it a random attack, or deliberate? It was a good plot and I wanted to keep reading to find out the answers. On the minus side, I found the minutiae of details about roads, tracks, railway lines, canals etc rather tiresome and mostly irrelevant. Maybe they would've meant more if I lived in the Peak District. I also found the atmosphere of the book bleak and rather depressing. In addition, I hadn't realised this was #15 in a series and I felt I was missing quite a lot of backstory on the lead characters and didn't warm to them. For all these reasons, I'm giving this book 3*.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Deanne

    Do enjoy this series though I'm beginning to worry about Ben Cooper, he needs a life outside of his job before he takes to drink and turns into Rebus. As for Fry, where is she? Nottingham, really Diane what were you thinking, a job in the peak or the city, hmm. As for the crime it's fun trying to work out what is going on before Ben. Do enjoy this series though I'm beginning to worry about Ben Cooper, he needs a life outside of his job before he takes to drink and turns into Rebus. As for Fry, where is she? Nottingham, really Diane what were you thinking, a job in the peak or the city, hmm. As for the crime it's fun trying to work out what is going on before Ben.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Clare O'Beara

    Another good look at crime in the historic Peak District. Landscape comes to the fore again in the tale of a truck driver whose sat nav and diversion signs take him off a route and get him stuck under a rural bridge. When a woman of a nearby hamlet drives up and finds her way home blocked, there is no sign of the driver, bar a bloodstain. In other hands this might be a lead in to a horror story but with Stephen Booth we can be reliably assured that a painstaking police operation gets under way. Another good look at crime in the historic Peak District. Landscape comes to the fore again in the tale of a truck driver whose sat nav and diversion signs take him off a route and get him stuck under a rural bridge. When a woman of a nearby hamlet drives up and finds her way home blocked, there is no sign of the driver, bar a bloodstain. In other hands this might be a lead in to a horror story but with Stephen Booth we can be reliably assured that a painstaking police operation gets under way. Ben Cooper the country cop is unsure whether to buy a cottage, since his life was overturned a little while ago. Diane Fry makes a brief appearance and is concerned with her work in Nottingham. She pulls away from what might have become a deepening friendship. Cooper has a recent promotion, and is still coming to terms with his new role. Watch out for a roadside truckers' café, a sweet factory still making Refreshers, pygmy goats, a new Asian officer and the usual moneyed blow-ins who wanted a house with a view and were prepared to spend. This vibrant mix makes this fifteenth story in the series quite distinct and still a fresh addition. I enjoyed the read; and the message that we can't expect police officers to lead uncomplicated, happy lives is apt, given the horrible jobs they do.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    I picked this up on a complete whim and once I got home I realised I have read some of the others in the series so I was quite looking forward to it. The story started really well but it got a little long winded to the middle as Cooper found himself going around in circles chapter after chapter. This made it quite hard to keep going as the story seemed to grind to a halt a bit and there wasn't much to keep things going. But it picked up again towards the end and the finale was great to read (alt I picked this up on a complete whim and once I got home I realised I have read some of the others in the series so I was quite looking forward to it. The story started really well but it got a little long winded to the middle as Cooper found himself going around in circles chapter after chapter. This made it quite hard to keep going as the story seemed to grind to a halt a bit and there wasn't much to keep things going. But it picked up again towards the end and the finale was great to read (although as soon as those characters cropped up I just knew they had a lot to do with it). Not as good as the others I've read but still a good crime story.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    This is the ninth Cooper and Fry novel. It's a little different as Cooper has been promoted and Fry has a new partner. This is a murder mystery that has strong connections to a traffic accident from 10 years ago. This was not my favorite book in the series but it was another great addition. Ben Fry has grown and is now a strong lead in this police procedural mystery. This is the ninth Cooper and Fry novel. It's a little different as Cooper has been promoted and Fry has a new partner. This is a murder mystery that has strong connections to a traffic accident from 10 years ago. This was not my favorite book in the series but it was another great addition. Ben Fry has grown and is now a strong lead in this police procedural mystery.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    Too much this road and that road and not enough emotional stuff.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Loved this! A fantastic setting, great characters, intriguing mystery. I don't know why this series has passed me by but I intend to correct that. Just bought the first three. Loved this! A fantastic setting, great characters, intriguing mystery. I don't know why this series has passed me by but I intend to correct that. Just bought the first three.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chana

    This book was a miss for me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Plum-crazy

    I've followed this series from the very start &, apart from two criticisms, this book did not disappoint. Another great read & once again Booth invokes the feeling o dark, brooding landscapes & insular communities & into it weaves a credible crime story. Now onto my criticisms.... Firstly...& I am aware I'm being picky here...I just couldn't visualise in my mind, the double bridge under which the lorry got stuck. A trivial point but as the scenary is always so well described & easily imaginable I I've followed this series from the very start &, apart from two criticisms, this book did not disappoint. Another great read & once again Booth invokes the feeling o dark, brooding landscapes & insular communities & into it weaves a credible crime story. Now onto my criticisms.... Firstly...& I am aware I'm being picky here...I just couldn't visualise in my mind, the double bridge under which the lorry got stuck. A trivial point but as the scenary is always so well described & easily imaginable I was frustrated that despite reading the passage over & over I just couldn't see it! And secondly.... *spoiler alert ahead* .. more importantly after reading "The Corpse Bridge" I was so looking foward to seeing if things had moved on between Ben & Diane in the way I had anticipated. Well it would appear so, though nothing is said outright, just a hint like "Not for the first time, Ben Cooper was driving back from Nottingham..." & in the closing chapter "Ben, it was a rebound" - what?!! Part of me says kudos to the author for not spoiling the style of the series by bogging the reader down with the love-life of the characters but a little more info would have been nice. I felt Diane was notably absent in this tale & seeing as she's given Ben the push maybe she'll stay in Nottingham & not appear in "Secrets of Death" at all! Hope not but look forward to finding out :o)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Isabel Seno

    It took me a whole week to finish this book, that’s how boring it was. I’ve been in the Peak District, but this was supposed to be a crime book, not a travel book. The story gets lost in so much detail and scene descriptions that are completely irrelevant to the plot. And I must say that I love description, but only the type of description that brings you right into the scene that the writer is talking about, not random Peak District sceneries. The story itself could had been written in just 3 c It took me a whole week to finish this book, that’s how boring it was. I’ve been in the Peak District, but this was supposed to be a crime book, not a travel book. The story gets lost in so much detail and scene descriptions that are completely irrelevant to the plot. And I must say that I love description, but only the type of description that brings you right into the scene that the writer is talking about, not random Peak District sceneries. The story itself could had been written in just 3 chapters.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    This is my first Stephen Booth book, as usual I happened upon it by accident at our local library and based on reviews here on Goodreads, decided to give it a try. Just annoyed that it happens to be No. 15 in the series first, but that won't stop me catching up on the previous ones. The reading by Mike Rogers was excellent, just love hearing those wonderful British accents. 4.5 stars! This is my first Stephen Booth book, as usual I happened upon it by accident at our local library and based on reviews here on Goodreads, decided to give it a try. Just annoyed that it happens to be No. 15 in the series first, but that won't stop me catching up on the previous ones. The reading by Mike Rogers was excellent, just love hearing those wonderful British accents. 4.5 stars!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    With this series, as I have indicated, before, I, sometimes, feel that I am reading a travelogue for the Peak District, but the core story was very good, perhaps, because the Wicked Witch of the North, Diane Fry, played little part.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Daisy

    This is the first book in the cooper and fry series I have read and I highly enjoyed it. I decided to give this book 4/5 stars as it was difficult to get into however thoroughly enjoyed it as it went on. I defiantly plan on reading more books from the series as soon as I can.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    I seemed to struggle with this book as I felt the story was very slow.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Colin Mitchell

    Eight years ago a fatal crash on the A6 road took the life of Ashley Brooks as a van driver stood by watching. All may not have been as it seemed at the time when a lorry driver is murdered on a lonely country road after his vehicle is stuck under a low bridge and a Scot Brooks takes his own life. Ben Cooper, now promoted to Inspector, has to unravel the mystery. A solid police procedural novel set in the dales. This one has only a passing reference to Diane Fry his former work colleague now his Eight years ago a fatal crash on the A6 road took the life of Ashley Brooks as a van driver stood by watching. All may not have been as it seemed at the time when a lorry driver is murdered on a lonely country road after his vehicle is stuck under a low bridge and a Scot Brooks takes his own life. Ben Cooper, now promoted to Inspector, has to unravel the mystery. A solid police procedural novel set in the dales. This one has only a passing reference to Diane Fry his former work colleague now his "love interest". The description of the hills and lonely country side contrasted with the rural town, fast becoming commuter cities makes up for any of the shortcomings in the story line. Something of a weak and inconclusive ending.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Will

    A good book, and the story takes a little while to get into but in the end it all comes together. A little bit muddled up in places, but a good story, with a potential twist. 4*

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nerys Roberts

    Shawhead is a one road in one road out village in DI Ben Cooper's patch. A lorry has got stuck under a railway bridge blocking this one road. Nothing unusual with drivers ignoring the instructions on their Satnav - the only problem is this driver is missing. Soon a body is found and it's a suspicious death but no one in the village seems to have seen anything helpful. Then there's a suicide in the nearest town and the two deaths seems to be linked by an accident that happened nearby on the A6 ei Shawhead is a one road in one road out village in DI Ben Cooper's patch. A lorry has got stuck under a railway bridge blocking this one road. Nothing unusual with drivers ignoring the instructions on their Satnav - the only problem is this driver is missing. Soon a body is found and it's a suspicious death but no one in the village seems to have seen anything helpful. Then there's a suicide in the nearest town and the two deaths seems to be linked by an accident that happened nearby on the A6 eight years earlier. Another great book in this series by Stephen Booth - really enjoyed it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chris Peace

    The book is ok. A ‘Who Dun It’ well thought out and a good plot. However, in my opinion, the author obviously knew his way around Derbyshire and padded the story out with unnecessary drawn out descriptions of every area mentioned in the book. If I’d wanted such in depth knowledge I would have bought a hikers guide and an ordnance survey map.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bobby D

    Just arrived from a book seller located in the United Kingdom this the 15th book in Stephen Booth’s mystery series featuring Detective Inspector Ben Cooper and Detective Sergeant Diane Fry. Set again in the rural Peak District of England which is just east of Manchester with its wonderful moors and small villages. (I am not sure why no American Publisher has picked up the series beyond e-books and several of the early editions in the series but I think they are missing a good bet. The series is Just arrived from a book seller located in the United Kingdom this the 15th book in Stephen Booth’s mystery series featuring Detective Inspector Ben Cooper and Detective Sergeant Diane Fry. Set again in the rural Peak District of England which is just east of Manchester with its wonderful moors and small villages. (I am not sure why no American Publisher has picked up the series beyond e-books and several of the early editions in the series but I think they are missing a good bet. The series is in development for a TV series which if ever produced might encourage an American Publisher.) I have read only the last four books in the series as well as the first, Black Dog. THE MURDER ROAD is a straight procedural mystery. The premise has a semi-trailer truck driver trying to navigate an unfamiliar route using his GPS which sends him down the wrong road. Its narrow and visibility is poor and the driver knows he has to find a way to turn around. Ahead is a tunnel, no it is an arch which is part of a railroad bridge crossing. The arch looks high enough in the center for the driver to clear but he finds out to late that the sides of the arch are to narrow and low. The driver crashes and his cab is stuck under the bridge. DI Copper is sent to the scene because the driver has gone missing and the cab of the truck is covered with blood. The search for the driver and suspects in what is thought might be a murder begins. This while Copper is adjusting to having just been promoted and trying to decide if he likes managing rather than the actual doing the investigating work himself. His oldest team member has just retired so there are two vacancies in his staff and because of budget cuts he receives only one new detective replacement, Detective Sergeant Dev Sharma who is Hindu having only prior work experience in inner city areas. Sharma may be the introduction of a new character for the series. Diane Fry is not much featured in this book put in brief appearances adds much. During the investigation Copper takes note that the missing driver was a witness 8 years earlier to an horrific accident on the A-6. The driver witnessed a small SUV as it was crushed between two semi-trailer trucks and its young girl driver killed. Copper becomes fascinated in the previous case and thinks the missing driver may be a part of a larger mystery. All and all it is a very entertaining and well executed, plausible plot. I am just getting into reading a few more mysteries and this is a series that I have so far enjoyed understanding that it is fun and entertaining while not great literature. It’s the kind of book you imagine reading in a small library while seated in a large leather winged chair next to a burning, crackling fire stopping for a minute here and there to consider the Peak District environment and who might be the guilty of murder. (Steven Booth appears to be an author who really enjoys his readers. He has an excellent email newsletter which covers his journeys to bookstores and libraries as well as the status of his next book. The Copper character is only 34 in this his 15th book so it appears he can keep going for some time.)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gloria Feit

    The newest novel in the Ben Cooper series opens in the tiny, isolated Peak District hamlet of Shawhead, where, one is told, there is only one way in and one way out. When a lorry delivering animal feed is found jammed into a narrow lane blocking the only ingress/egress, with no driver inside [although there are a lot of bloodstains, indicating something seriously amiss], the case is assigned to newly promoted DI Ben Cooper, of the Derbyshire E Division CID. Ben, in his 30’s and still recovering f The newest novel in the Ben Cooper series opens in the tiny, isolated Peak District hamlet of Shawhead, where, one is told, there is only one way in and one way out. When a lorry delivering animal feed is found jammed into a narrow lane blocking the only ingress/egress, with no driver inside [although there are a lot of bloodstains, indicating something seriously amiss], the case is assigned to newly promoted DI Ben Cooper, of the Derbyshire E Division CID. Ben, in his 30’s and still recovering from the death of his fiancée, Liz Petty, a civilian Scenes of Crime officer, in an earlier series book. In addition, Ben must adjust to the new DS assigned to him, and is adjusting to no longer having DS Diane Fry with whom to discuss his cases, Diane (who has a reputation for toughness and a lack of emotion”) having been transferred to the Major Crime Unit of East Midlands Special Operations Unit, although he manages to get together with her for brief personal/professional visits. Other familiar members of Ben’s staff are present, including DCs Luke Irvin, Carol Villiers and Becky Hurst, although Gavin Murfin is, as the book opens, about to celebrate his retirement. His presence will be missed, by his colleagues as well as the reader, despite him being “an idle, sexist, politically incorrect anachronism who should have been kicked out years ago.” The novel starts off slowly, less action-filled than the reader might want or expect, although the descriptions of Edendale and Ben’s beloved Peak District, as well as the more rural countryside is, as usual, wonderfully descriptive and evocative. The detailed descriptions, as well as the cover, certainly enable the reader, even those from “across the pond,” such as myself, to visualize the scene. Ben finds himself thinking “This was what he’d been missing, the sense of the wide, open spaces of the Peak District, the acres and acres of wild, majestic country that he’d always loved.” The case proves especially difficult, primarily because of the insular nature of the inhabitants of the area, as Cooper finds: “The word ‘community’ seemed alien to the residents here. They seemed to live in a state of mutual unhelpfulness and suspicion.” Things only get more complicated when another body is found later that same day, hanging from a tree less than three miles away, apparently a suicide. It’s difficult to believe it’s a coincidence, especially when it is discovered that both men were connected to a fatal accident that had occurred on a major nearby highway 8 years ago. The action picks up, as does the suspense, as the book nears its end. As always with a Stephen Booth novel, it was very enjoyable, and is recommended.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tinika

    The Murder Road is the 15th outing in the Cooper Fry Mystery series. Once upon a time, this series was my very favourite but it has been going downhill over the past several books. Diane Fry barely makes a cameo in this one which is not necessarily a bad thing. Stephen Booth seems to have run his course with this character and leaving her out is better than rehashing her negativity. The new DS, Dev Sharma, a visible minority from the city, might make a good replacement foil for the country-raise The Murder Road is the 15th outing in the Cooper Fry Mystery series. Once upon a time, this series was my very favourite but it has been going downhill over the past several books. Diane Fry barely makes a cameo in this one which is not necessarily a bad thing. Stephen Booth seems to have run his course with this character and leaving her out is better than rehashing her negativity. The new DS, Dev Sharma, a visible minority from the city, might make a good replacement foil for the country-raised Ben Cooper but Booth’s introduction of this character is extremely timid. More on this in a moment. My biggest criticism of this book is the sloppy writing - nagging little unresolved details, editing oversights, and orphan comments unrelated to the rest of the book. - Dev leaves out something in a report. Is this important to the plot or to his character? We never find out. Were there illegal goings on at the lay-by? Who knows? Why not follow up Erin’s article? Too many holes in the denouement. - The editing lapses consisted primarily of the repeat (“And what did you do that before that?” p 357) or unorthodox use (“For that he needed to reply on the Crime Scene Manager.” p 202) of words. - My favourite is “That’s explains the graffiti on his fence.” (p 172) Not only does it have a typo but what graffiti? what fence? It is the first and only mention of either. So disappointing, especially as I loved, loved, loved the early books in the series.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jaffareadstoo

    I'm always reluctant to jump into an established series of detective novels so far down the line, because all too often the finer nuances of the characters who inhabit the story can be missed, however, putting that observation on one side, what did work, for me, was a cleverly put together crime story which begins some eight years earlier with a catastrophic road accident. Jumping forward in time, another road traffic accident occurs in the tiny Peak District of Shawhead, and DI Cooper and his i I'm always reluctant to jump into an established series of detective novels so far down the line, because all too often the finer nuances of the characters who inhabit the story can be missed, however, putting that observation on one side, what did work, for me, was a cleverly put together crime story which begins some eight years earlier with a catastrophic road accident. Jumping forward in time, another road traffic accident occurs in the tiny Peak District of Shawhead, and DI Cooper and his investigative team are faced with a complicated inquiry which seems to reveal far more questions than it does answers. A delivery lorry is found stuck under a small railway bridge and the driver seems to have disappeared, but with only an amount of blood stains to go off, the investigative enquiry seems to be ill-fated from the start. As the investigation deepens, Cooper and his team become increasingly frustrated by the lack of co-operation from the people who live close by the accident scene. Thanks to the author's detailed knowledge of the area, the landscape forms part of the backdrop to the story and is explained in great detail, so much so, I felt like I crossed the countryside around the Peak District searching for clues alongside E-Division. The tiny villages and the small town mentality of its people comes across very well, and even as DI Cooper seems to meet with stony silences and insular opposition, you can’t help but be aware that a sinister mystery sits at the very heart of the story. I found the story quite gripping and I especially liked exploring the connection between the characters and enjoyed piecing together the overall jigsaw puzzle. My only niggle was the level of geographical references, which I am sure are fascinating if you know the Peak District well, I just felt, at times, like I was being given a written description of an ordnance survey map. I am intrigued by the relationship between Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, so I suppose the best way to learn more about them is to start at the beginning of this excellent series.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Suzan Lloyd

    This is the 15th in the excellent series featuring the brilliant Cooper and Fry. Ben Cooper is making the adjustments to being a newly promoted DI; waving off Gavin Murfin to his retirement; having a new DS join his team and then there's the change in his relationship with Diane Fry. Diane doesn't feature heavily in this novel. Just as I thought I was warming to her, she reverts to type and I'm annoyed with her again! The novel starts with a fatal accident 8 years earlier. Then moving forward a lo This is the 15th in the excellent series featuring the brilliant Cooper and Fry. Ben Cooper is making the adjustments to being a newly promoted DI; waving off Gavin Murfin to his retirement; having a new DS join his team and then there's the change in his relationship with Diane Fry. Diane doesn't feature heavily in this novel. Just as I thought I was warming to her, she reverts to type and I'm annoyed with her again! The novel starts with a fatal accident 8 years earlier. Then moving forward a lorry driver, following his sat nav, gets his vehicle stuck under a railway bridge to a village that only has the one road in and out. The driver disappears and there is blood left in the lorry cab. Ben and his team investigate and along the way there are clever twists to keep the reader guessing. I'm sure it will be picked up with those who have eagle eyes that there are a few typing/editing errors in the first half but this really can be forgiven as this truly is an enjoyable mystery that is well plotted and well written. Whilst there is murder and other horrific events there is no graphic detail. Stephen Booth's books always feel more than just a mystery to solve for me. There are the wonderful descriptions of the Peak District, so vivid you feel that you are there (or stimulated enough to look it up/visit) and interesting information about the area. He also conveys convincingly the team dynamics with believable interaction. Maybe Ben will need to toughen up a bit. Recommended - this is a pleasure to read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    Feels like ages since I have read a Stephen Booth novel but it didn't take me long to recall all the main characters and ponder, like DI Ben Cooper, over the new guy. If you are a fan of the Ben Cooper series, like me, then you will enjoy this story of yet another murder in the Peak District. Ray Smillie Feels like ages since I have read a Stephen Booth novel but it didn't take me long to recall all the main characters and ponder, like DI Ben Cooper, over the new guy. If you are a fan of the Ben Cooper series, like me, then you will enjoy this story of yet another murder in the Peak District. Ray Smillie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Laurel

    It was okay. I didn't tealize that it's part of a series when I picked it up, so maybe if you read it in context it's better. I thought it would be a more gripping read from the description, but I sort of had to force myself to finish it. I also guessed the ending pretty far in advance. Not bad, not great, but not eager to check out any more in the series. It was okay. I didn't tealize that it's part of a series when I picked it up, so maybe if you read it in context it's better. I thought it would be a more gripping read from the description, but I sort of had to force myself to finish it. I also guessed the ending pretty far in advance. Not bad, not great, but not eager to check out any more in the series.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    Stephen Booth's books are always good reads for me. I like revisiting Diane Fry and Ben and the rest of the detectives as well as the Peak area. There's always a complex crime to be solved too. One of my faves since The Black Dog. Stephen Booth's books are always good reads for me. I like revisiting Diane Fry and Ben and the rest of the detectives as well as the Peak area. There's always a complex crime to be solved too. One of my faves since The Black Dog.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tom Waters

    Too slow I have read all of the Cooper and Fry books by Stephen Booth and have enjoyed the series unfortunately this book is far to slow on actual. incidents far far too much description. on where on was going or coming from

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