Written by Tim Weaver — David Raker is a specialist. The former journalist is an expert at finding missing people, particularly when the police have failed and put the case notes in the the dustiest corner of their filing system. Raker has a good success rate, which has often brought him into conflict with the police. When former adversary DCI Melanie Craw hires him to find her missing father, Raker is surprised, but takes on the case.
Leonard Franks was a top Metropolitan Police detective, but retired to an isolated Devon cottage. He stepped out one winter night to get more logs for the fire and was never seen again. As Raker tries to find out what happened to Franks, he is faced with a wall of suspicion from the missing man’s old colleagues.
Raker’s greatest strength is that he will turn over any stone, unafraid of what poisonous beasties may be scuttling underneath. His relentless search for the truth and a face-off with bent coppers threaten not only his own well-being, but also the safety of his family. What secrets are still to be discovered in the ruined mental hospital on an island off the Devon Coast? Who is telling lies? How might the rape and murder of a young woman, years earlier, be the key which opens the most solidly locked door of Raker’s career?
One thing is certain. David Raker is never afraid to go where even the boldest of angels fears to tread. There are moments in this novel where you’ll want to cry, ‘No – don’t go there! Wait, and call for help!’
With the previous books in the series, Tim Weaver has established Raker as one of the top characters in the go-it-alone sub-genre of modern crime fiction. He is not a wise-cracking smart arse, and he frequently comes off second best in physical encounters with the bad guys. His love life is virtually monastic and he is not given to introverted musing about the state of humankind. It isn’t Raker’s personality that wins us over – it is his past and how it informs his present. His back story is complex; a beloved wife, who he nursed throughout her final illness; a daughter from a college days romance; roots in both rural Devon and cosmopolitan modern London. One of Weaver’s many talents is to slip these details into the narrative without fuss or bother. A phrase here, a sentence there, and we know David Raker as well as he knows himself.
Like in Weaver’s earlier books the landscape and atmosphere play a key role. Whether Raker is searching long forgotten railway tunnels beneath London, trying to survive stormy seas in an abandoned clifftop village, or battling the storms on the impacable Dartmoor terrain, the elements and the built environment are rarely in his favour, but are essential to the mood of the narrative.
Weaver makes the plot a labyrinth of false trails and wrong assumptions, and you will need to read to the very final pages to get the complete picture. The story takes several breathtaking back-flips which would be worthy of an Olympic gymnast. A new Raker adventure is to be anticipated with as much pleasure as a new Tom Thorne, Roy Grace, Jack Reacher, Tony Hill or John Rebus story. The author lets no-one down here, and has pulled another rabbit out of the hat.
To read more about Tim Weaver’s work, click here. Fall From Grace is released 14 August.
CFL Rating: 5 Stars