Book Review: Preacher Boy, Harrison Lane Book 1, Gwyn GB
Mystery: Preacher Boy, Harrison Lane Mystery Book 1, Gwyn GB
Blog Tour June 9, 2021
Dr. Harrison Lane is not your typical cop. Actually, he is not a cop at all. He is a psychologist, a profiler, a tracker, and an expert in religions. He holds an odd position with Scotland Yard in the Ritualistic Behavioural Crime Unit (a “unit” being essentially him and one assistant) as a civilian consultant on matters regarding religious and occult aspects to crimes.
When a child’s body is found with candles and a homemade cross, letters written on his chest referencing a Latin prayer, and Bible verses stuffed into his mouth, Lane is brought in to get his take on the case. Police, families, and the press all discover that this Ph.D. with the strange mannerisms and poor social graces is much more than they expect. Much, much more.
In Preacher Boy, Gwyn GB has created a very different protagonist, given him an extraordinary back story, and surrounded him with compelling characters in their own right. Far from the typical hard-drinking cops typical of the genre, Lane does not smoke or drink. He lives alone, exercises maniacally, rides a Harley, wears leather bike gear, and works out of a small office in the basement of the police station. Driven by a personal grief that gets revealed through the novel, he uses his training and intellect to catch killers. Raised for a time in Arizona on a Native American reservation, the man he still considers to be a father figure taught him how to track people and animals across the desert. Sometimes those skills are equally applicable in London.
The two primary detectives on the case are also cut from different cloth than the usual “supporting police officer character” pattern. Detective Chief Inspector Sandra Barker is a serious and dedicated officer who is also a wife and a mother. Committed to both her team and her family, she does a better job of watching out for her officer’s work/life balance than she does in managing her own. Detective Sergeant Jack Salter is a smart-ass detective who is struggling with being a new parent, caring for his wife, and trying to focus on his work as well. He does not care for Lane.
This book may be one of the best series introductions I have ever read. Several times through the book I wondered whether I had missed any previous novels since there were references to previous events and cases. No, I hadn’t. The author simply did an amazing job of creating an entire history for each of the main characters, then referencing it in a natural way that creates significant opportunities for her to add prequels as well as sequels. Whether she does that or not, her characters feel like they have lived in their lives and we are being welcomed into their world rather than that they were created for ours.
Preacher Boy is one of those rare books that successfully introduces an ecosystem that feels holistic. There are clearly story arcs begun here that will continue in the future. There are backstory events that continue to shape the present. There is more than a hint of possible romance and future danger. And there is an extraordinary protagonist who successfully walks through the pages commanding every eye and owning every scene. I loved it.
Our thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for our copy of Preacher Boy in exchange for our participation in this blog tour. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other perspectives on the book, check out the other bloggers listed here.
Book Review: Preacher Boy, Harrison Lane Mystery Book 1, Gwyn GB