Saturday 29 September 2018

Book Review - Blog Tour: Lying and Dying by Graham Brack

Title: Lying and Dying
Author: Graham Brack
Series: A Josef Slonsky Investigation #1
Publisher: Sapere Books
Publication Date: 1st August 2018
Pages: 282
Format Read: Ebook
Source: Courtesy of publisher.

What do you do when the poison comes from within…?

The body of a young woman is found strangled by the side of the road.

There are no obvious clues to what happened, apart from the discovery of a large amount of cash concealed on her person.

The brilliant, but lazy, Lieutenant Josef Slonský is put in charge of the case.

With a wry sense of humour, a strong stubborn streak and a penchant for pastries, Slonský is not overly popular with the rest of the police force. But he is paired with the freshly-graduated, overly-eager Navrátil, whom he immediately takes under his wing.

When fingers start to point inwards to someone familiar with police operations, Slonský and Navrátil are put in a difficult position.

If what they suspect is true, how deep does the corruption run? Are they willing to risk their careers in their pursuit of the truth?
Anyone could be lying - and others may be in danger of dying… 

A young woman is murdered and her body dumped near a railway station. It appears as if the murderer wanted the body found. The case is taken by Lt Josef Slonsky, a veteran of nearly forty years on the force.

Approaching 60, his days on the force are numbered but Slonsky isn’t ready to retire yet and he still has a lot to offer as he is training young recruit, Navratil.

 “Navratil? He’s all right. Got to learn to pace himself though. You get nowhere rushing. Fortunately he has the great advantage of having me to show him the ropes.” 

As the evidence is slowly gathered it all points to one person, a man in a high ministerial position. But it’s not all cut and dried and the story follows many twists and turns.

Slonsky’s dry, irreverent humour makes for many laugh out loud moments. He is gruff at times but has real concern and empathy when it is warranted.

Slonsky has the obligatory slight disdain for his superiors and food is always foremost on his mind.

“Slonsky smiled angelically and lowered his bulky frame into the car. ‘My brain’s slowing down. It could do with a pastry or two. Come on, lad, put your foot down’."

“The Minister told us to redouble our efforts, Navratil. So we’re going for two beers and two sausages.”

Slonsky’s policing methods are unconventional to say the least but he gets results so a blind eye is turned to his practices.

The story starts out with plenty of dry humour, sarcasm and witty banter between the characters but as the case hots up the atmosphere becomes very deep and serious and Slonsky drops his flippant manner.

Brack includes snippets of Prague’s history and how the characters fit into these events, which in turn explains their actions.

Lying and Dying is an entertaining political crime mystery. Slonsky is an endearing hero and even though the ending is somewhat unconventional it suits our protagonist perfectly and I loved it.

The first Josef Slonsky Mystery is an excellent start to a new series.

*I received a copy from the publisher to read and review.

My rating: 5/5  🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Photo courtesy of Sapere Books
Graham Brack hails from Sunderland and met his wife Gillian in Aberdeen where they were both studying pharmacy. After their degrees Gillian returned to Cornwall and Graham followed. This is now called stalking but in 1978 it was termed “romantic”. They have two children, Andrew and Hannah, and two grandchildren, Miranda and Sophie.

Graham’s foray into crime writing began in 2010 when he entered the Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger competition and was highly commended for The Outrageous Behaviour of Left-Handed Dwarves (reissued as Lying and Dying), in which the world was introduced to Lt Josef Slonský of the Czech police. The Book of Slaughter and Forgetting (reissued as Slaughter and Forgetting) followed and Sapere Books have published book three, Death On Duty,
In 2014 and 2016 Graham was shortlisted for the Debut Dagger again. The earlier novel, The Allegory of Art and Science, is set in 17th century Delft and features the philosophy lecturer and reluctant detective Master Mercurius. Sapere Books will publish it as Death in Delft in 2018.

Check out the other posts and reviews on the Lying and Dying blog tour.

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