Foul Justice is the fourth outing for Mel Comley’s vixen detective, Lorne Simpkins. Whereas the previous three have been 5-star nuggets, this is the mother lode – by far the best in the series and worthy of taking its place at the front rank of modern crime thrillers.
The story sinks its claws into you with a harrowing opening scene-setter that makes you want to cry out for justice. After that there’s nothing you can do but stay on board to see what happens as Comley weaves her gritty tale with the ease of a maestro.
Her lead character is a hard-bitten policewoman who has had to fight her corner every step of the way in a male-dominated profession. She’s made it to the top and is now trying to solve three horrific murders; deal with the capture of her MI6 boyfriend in Afghanistan; and break in a new partner who seems to have her own fair share of personal troubles.
All three strands of the story come together seamlessly, not least because Comley has the knack for maintaining a frantic pace while taking time to provide the reader with insight into the lives of real people, dealing with real issues. These aren’t superheroes, but when the time comes to step up to the plate, you just know they’ll be there.
The author’s writing style is easy on the eye. There’s a steady pace about how she unravels the threads and yet reserves a few surprises in an ending typical of the best crime mysteries. This is a book that readers of the genre can’t afford to overlook.
Although this is the fourth in a series featuring detective Lorne Simpkins it is a stand-alone that doesn’t need the background of the other works for easy reference. However, if you read this one first, you’re sure to dive back in for its forerunners.
So what next for Comley? My tuppence-worth advice is that she should clear her desk, place this book front and centre, and start immediately into writing a screenplay version of it. Then she should dump the completed manuscript on the desks of the BBC, ITV or Sky One to see who jumps first at the opportunity for a three-night serial in the best traditions of Lynda La Plante or Val McDermid. It deserves to be in that kind of company.
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If you’ve read this novel, or any of Comley’s previous works I’d love to hear your views. I’d also like to hear about any other author you’ve recently read and would recommend to other readers. Please leave a comment below: