I’ve never been particularly bothered about reading novels set in the place where I’m based. While living in Greece, my staple was Scandinavian thrillers and in London I read crime fiction from home and abroad. However, one attraction of Everyone Lies, the new book from A D Garrett, was its Manchester setting, a city I’m gradually getting reacquainted with after years away. It’s a different place to the one I left and yet very familiar. A D Garrett is the collaboration between crime writer Margaret Murphy and forensic scientist, Professor Dave Barclay. I’ve long been a fan of Margaret Murphy’s writing. Although I haven’t reviewed any of her books on this blog, she writes tense thrillers with a strong sense of place and I’m pleased she’s turned her attention to Manchester.
DI Kate Simms is a former fast-track detective whose career was derailed after a case when she gave information to a colleague that had far reaching ramifications. Forensics expert Professor Nick Fennimore is her former lover who is mourning the loss of his wife and child and working as a lecturer in Scotland. When a succession of prostitutes are murdered in central Manchester, Kate Simms pleads for Nick’s expertise in helping her solve the case and reignite her career. But their fractious personal relationship hides wounds that give those who wish to damage their careers once more plenty of opportunity to do so.
Writing duos are a difficult thing to get right but when they work well they can give a novel added depth. I’d love to hear how Murphy and Barclay wrote the book because the narrative has a consistent feel to it, even when steeped in technical forensic detail. The minutiae of forensic analysis is dealt with in an interesting way and adds depth to an solid murder plot. What is particularly touching is the way in which both Simms and Fennimore, in their respective roles, are determined to elicit the cause of death of a group of women who have sunk so low that their killings have barely been registered as suspicious.
The characters are given a huge amount of back story and the book at times read like a sequel as plenty of the narrative is given over to the loss of Nick’s wife and his previous relationship with Kate. I thought this was a clever device but I kept having to remind myself that there is no previous book, just an interesting story that I suspect will be explored in later novels.
Everyone Lies is an excellent début by A D Garrett which, given the pedigree of the writers, should come as no surprise. Thanks to Constable and Robinson for the copy of my book.