Blog Tour: Silenced for Good, Alex Coombs

Book Review: Silenced for Good, Alex Coombs

silenced for good cover

Mystery/Thriller: Silenced for Good, Alex Coombs

DCI Hanlon has had a rough go of it. Accused of excessive force when arresting a suspect, even her typically supportive fellow officers are not closing ranks around her. Her psychiatrist insists that she take some time off while the investigation sorts itself out. Leave London. Go to Scotland. Avoid crime!

Easy, right?

When Hanlon arrives at her destination, a body is waiting for her. Lying on the beach, apparently drowned by the nearby whirlpool, a young woman is found by locals. Police believe it was an accidental drowning. But when a second young woman also disappears, later found in the ocean, Hanlon suspects something else is going on. With the help of an attractive local police officer, Catriona McCleod, Hanlon tries to uncover the criminal before more bodies turn up–and before she herself becomes a victim.

This is the fifth novel featuring DCI Hanlon, but the first written under the name Alex Coombs (previous books were written under the name Alex Howard). Having read this one I can unabashedly say, count me in for the long haul! Coombs has written a marvelous book, complete with a complex protagonist, a clever plot full of twists, more than one surprise built in, and a nice set-up for a sequel or sequels. DCI Hanlon is tough. She thrives on violence. A boxer and triathlete, she is up to any challenge. She is also unabashedly bisexual, an identity seldom addressed in mainstream fiction.

Coombs also paints a beautiful picture of the Scottish island setting of most of the book. You can almost see the maelstrom, feel the wind in your face, hear the birds calling, smell the scent of the trees in the mountains. When the story moves to the “mainland” of Scotland, a very different and dark urban setting is just as carefully described. Hanlon moves effortlessly between the beautiful rural island and the gritty urban decay, and wherever the story goes the descriptions flow with it.

More than merely a procedural, Coombs spends a lot of time allowing Hanlon to search within herself. What are the reasons she is so drawn to violence? Why has she essentially thrown away her career for the rush of blood? She is allowed to question herself, her motives, her decisions. Internal conversations between Hanlon and her psychiatrist (absent in person but present in Hanlon’s thoughts) continue throughout the book. The journey Hanlon takes within her own character growth is easily as far as the distance from London to Scotland, and as difficult as finding a murderer who is unafraid of leaving a trail of bodies.

Silenced for Good is a very good novel. I truly hope a series is in the offing, and I hope I will get to review future adventures of (probably ex) DCI Hanlon. In the meantime, I may have to check out Google Earth for some pictures of Scotland. Thanks to Alex Coombs, I feel like I’ve already been there.

 

ales coombs author silenced for good poster

 

­Alex Coombs studied Arabic at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities and went on to work in adult education and then retrained to be a chef. He has written four previous books under the name Alex Howard.

My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this blog tour, and to her, author Alex Coombs, and Boldwood Books for my review copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

silenced for good cover

Book Review: Silenced for Good, Alex Coombs

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