Book Review: The Cyclist, Tim Sullivan

Book Review: The Cyclist, DS Cross Mystery Book 2, Tim Sullivan

Mystery: The Cyclist, DS Cross Mystery Book 2,Tim Sullivan


DS George Cross has the highest conviction rate of any detective in London. Maybe even in the entire UK. He is thorough, meticulous, painstaking, and fully committed to seeing justice done.


He is also nearly impossible to work with.


Cross is on what’s called the “Autism Spectrum.” He is socially unaware and inept. Things that would be natural to many people are completely foreign to him. He is fixated on routines: Thursday evenings are for eating dinner with his father. Wednesday evenings are for practicing the organ. Changing those routines is deeply unsettling to him. Each type of food must have its own plate and cannot touch anything else. Personal space is inviolate. What others consider rude or blunt is just his natural way of communicating. He does not mean to cause harm. He simply cannot fathom emotionally that he does cause harm. Cross is beginning to recognize this intellectually and is making the effort to interact better with colleagues and the public. But his efforts are clearly stilted and unnatural for him.


Some of those same aspects of his character, though, are superpowers when it comes to detective work. His insistence on going over the same information time and time again often forces himself and others to consider things in a new light and reveals details that had been previously overlooked. His abruptness and disregard of social niceties unsettles suspects when they are being questioned; they tend to underestimate his intelligence and trip themselves over their own lies. His willingness to painstakingly examine and compile evidence makes the job of the prosecution and the jury almost easy. He may be a difficult colleague, but he is a formidable adversary.


The Cyclist is a young man whose body is dumped at a construction site. His slender upper body and muscular legs, along with the clothing he was wearing, help Cross recognize that the victim is an avid cyclist. But why was he killed and his body dumped? Was it related to his family or business interests? Was it related to drugs? The possibilities and leads almost seem too plentiful. For a young man who most people seemed to like, he had a lot of enemies and rivals and people with reasons to harm him.


Sullivan’s plot is complex and interesting. His writing style grabs your attention and keeps it. But the main attraction for me is looking at the world through the eyes of DS Cross. The people I have met on the spectrum have been as unique and individual as anyone else, but their challenges have shared some commonalities. Fortunately for my friends, they have been surrounded by people who loved them fiercely and fought for them. It is unfair to presume that my friends are lonely. I am not sure that word exactly applies to them. But it is a very different engagement process with the world, one with both challenges and perspectives that most of us cannot imagine. I am grateful that someone with Tim Sullivan’s talent has not only imagined it but has translated it for the rest of us.


Also see:

Book Review: The DentistDS Cross Series Book 1, Tim Sullivan

Book Review: The Cyclist, DS Cross Mystery Book 2, Tim Sullivan

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