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I listened to this Audiobook version which has just come out. Tim Pepper is an amazing reader and carries the listener effortlessly into the Portsmouth scene with its local rhythms of speech. This volume sadly closes out an extremely good series featuring a tired but driven police detective, DI Joe Faraday, who uses his organisational skills and basic copper instincts to battle not only the criminals on his patch but the new bureaucratic approach to policing which has become a general feature throughout the UK with its tick-the-boxes approach to crime investigation, fear of budget overruns, and sensitivity to political winds. This time around four suspicious deaths in a farmhouse fire on the Isle of Wight lead to a search for a missing stash of cocaine which may or may not be tied to local businessman and former football hooligan, gangster and newly-emerging local celebrity 'Bazza' Mackenzie, a sinister but oddly compelling character who recurs throughout the books of this series. Faraday has recently been involved in a traffic accident while travelling to the Middle East with his partner, the French anthropologist Gabrielle. Faraday returns to work prematurely, still suffering from the effects of concussion, while Gabrielle remains in the Middle East having become obsessed with the plight of a young Palestinian girl badly injured by Israeli phosphorus bombs during the recent siege of Gaza. The year is 2009. Bazza (remember him?) is suffering from a meltdown of the property market and badly needs to recoup his lost millions with the help of his sidekick, Paul Winter, a former DS under Faraday who has left the police force under a cloud and now has gone over to the dark side. If it sounds a bit complicated, remember we are talking about a series which has developed a story line over several thousand pages (this is the 11th volume). The plots are extremely well constructed and are character-driven throughout.
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