Written by Larry Quartley — Stella Kerr is raped and murdered in her London flat and her boyfriend Steve Lamb is arrested, accused of the crime. When he absconds from court this simply confirms the police’s views. Everyone is convinced of his guilt, except Steve’s mother, Sheila. She persuades DCI Zachary Taylor to investigate the crime. He has a score to settle and believes this case and one from the Cold Turkey file from seven years ago are related.
Back then his boss Chief Inspector Benner was murdered in a pub shoot out between rival drug gangs. He made a promise to find Benner’s killer, but so far he’s failed to bring the main suspect, James Black, to book. The situation has haunted him since. Black is a very wealthy entrepreneur and, despite his apparent connections to the drugs trade, seems to be untouchable. But perhaps, finally, Taylor has the opportunity to achieve the closure he’s been seeking these long years.
This is a decent police procedural crime thriller. There’s plenty of tension, twists and turns and intrigue, which will keep most crime fiction lovers happy. The lead character, DCI Taylor, is a little different to the norm. We see and feel his fear and emotions and, other than his past failings, isn’t loaded with baggage. He barrels through the investigation, getting closer to his target with each unfolding chapter.
The opening chapter creates a decent tension and sets up the rest of the story, however it is a bit quirky. It begins in the first person but after Stella is murdered it switches to third person. It’s an unusual approach and I found it jarring. The risk was brave but it hasn’t paid off.
The characters are the strong point of Closure. Besides Taylor, Black is excellent, a thoroughly arrogant man. Another worth mention is Allan Devere, Ya ardie drug lord. He’s suitably nuts for the role he’s given. On the other hand there are a number of frustrations with the text. First are more technical aspects. Closure would benefit from a dose of editing. One to tighten up the story, two to remove repetition, three to eliminate spelling and punctuation errors, and finally there’s over use of parenthetic dashes and ellipses in the text and dialogue. These are distracting – at best – drawing the eye away from the story… Finally the author insists on using strong accents in dialogue. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
So, Closure is a largely compelling novel with a lot of promise, but it needs pruning by a third party to bring out its true potential.
CFL Rating: 3 Stars