On the Bookshelf...

The Politician

Tim Sullivan

A smashed window. A ransacked room. A dead body. At first glance, it's a burglary gone wrong. First impressions of a crime scene are crucial... but they aren't always correct. When DS George Cross – Bristol Crime Unit's most eccentric, dogged and successful detective – starts investigating the death of former mayor Peggy Frampton, he's convinced that what looks like a bungled burglary is in fact a case of pre-meditated murder. After her political career ended, Peggy became a controversial blogger whose forthright opinions attracted a battalion of online trolls. And then there's her family: an unfaithful husband and a gambling-addicted son. With yet more enemies in her past, the list of suspects seems unending. Now Cross must unpick this dark web of seedy connections to find her killer – but the sheer number of suspects is clouding his usually impeccable logic. He's a relentlessly methodical detective, but no case can last forever: can Cross catch the killer before he runs out of time?

There's something deeply satisfying about The Politician by Tim Sullivan. It's hard to put a finger on what makes it so. The plot line is good, there's some particularly nasty characters, not all who turn out to be bad, and there's the main protagonist DS George Cross (more of later). All these things on their own would make a good book, but all rolled together you get a book that manages to raise itself high above the surface of crime fiction.

A former mayor of Bristol is found dead in her flat. There are drawers disturbed at the scene, and a large amount of jewellery is missing from the locked safe. The DI on the case is convinced this is just a burglary gone wrong, but George Cross, a sergeant on the force, is not so easily convinced. Given free rein, along with his colleague, Josie Ottley, he dives deep into the underbelly of Bristols dark side in search of the truth about what happened.

I really liked this book. It's my first brush with DS Cross, and I'm sure I'll be back to read his earlier cases. George Cross is a peach of a detective, his autism makes for a more interesting personality. Helped by Josie, who is trying to smooth the edges of Cross's manner, this is the best character I've come across since MA Craven introduced Tilly Bradshaw. George doesn't presume anything, which makes him see things differently from the average run of the mill fictional detective. Yet, his brain works on a higher level in helping him see the things others miss. A truly unique detective.

I have nothing but praise for this book, the writing standards are first class, the plot line tight and readable. I can thoroughly recommend this book.

Thanks to Netgallery and Aria & Aries for an eARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Review by
AJ Steel
March 31, 2023

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