Book review: Cleaver Square

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I’m a member of Rosie Amber’s book review team, and this week I reviewed Cleaver Square. Here is my review:

Cleaver Square by Daniel and Sean Campbell is a British police procedural in the genre of the books by P.D. James and her character, Inspector Adam Dalgliesh. I was not disappointed in the story line, which kept me reading eagerly to the end, and with few exceptions, the main characters were interesting and well-drawn.

Brothers Daniel and Sean have been writing together since 2012. Their first collaboration was Dead on Demand, which they wrote in 90 days, on a bet. In this book, DCI David Morton comes to life again, as he investigates the death of a child whose body is found frozen in a marshy area in London. The child appears to have no name until the very expensive watch found on the body leads Morton and his team to the foster system. There they find another child who is the real owner of the watch – or is he? Early in the investigation, Morton is the victim of identity fraud, leaving his and his wife’s bank accounts and retirement funds drained. Despite this rather huge distraction, Morton is determined to find the identity of the dead child, assisted by his team: the dedicated Bertram Ayala, a smartly dressed Detective Inspector, and his second in command, Detective Inspector Tina Vaughn, a young Welsh woman who more than admires her boss. The authors keep the pressure on Morton via his superiors and do a good job of interweaving the investigations of Morton and the members of his team with the story of the two boys.

Only two things were somewhat distracting in this entertaining read: a little too much time spent on the procedures required legally for the case to move forward, which slowed the action, and the fact that Morton’s relationships with the two main female characters – Sarah, his wife, and Tina Vaughn – did not completely resonate with this reviewer. Perhaps the first book establishes the nature of these relationships more clearly.

Notwithstanding these points, I recommend this book to mystery readers, especially those who like British mysteries, and look forward to reading more of DCI Morton’s adventures.

Four of five stars

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