Written by: James Oswald @SirBenfro
Published by: Wildfire @wildfirebks
“Suspended from duty after her last case ended in the high-profile arrest of one of Britain’s wealthiest men, DC Constance Fairchild is trying to stay away from the limelight. Fate has other ideas…
Coming home to her London flat, Constance stumbles across a young man, bloodied, mutilated and barely alive. She calls it in and is quickly thrown into the middle of a nationwide investigation… It seems that the victim is just the latest in a string of similar ritualistic attacks.
No matter that she is off-duty, no matter that there are those in the Met who would gladly see the back of her, Con can’t shake her innate determination to bring the monsters responsible for this brutality to justice.
Trouble always seems to find her, and even if she has nothing to hide, perhaps she has everything to lose…”
There is something I love about authors who sneak mentions of their other works into books.
Stephen King does it all the time with his Castlerock based stories. When it happens it’s like bumping into old friends you haven’t seen in years.
James Oswald fills this book with easter eggs and references to his hugely successful Inspector McLean Series. Locations and characters that will fill McLean fans with unbridled joy when they pop up. Yet Oswald still manages to do it in a throwaway, blink or you’ll miss it fashion that won’t confuse or deter readers new to this, the Constance Fairchild Series.
I was blown away by the first book “No Time to Cry” – see my review for that if you are new to the series HERE
So much so I wondered if Oswald could reach the same heights with the often difficult second in the series. I needn’t have worried, he’s knocked it out of the park again.
Oswald’s USP if you will, is his ability to weave just the right amount of supernatural into his stories in such a way that he leaves it open to the reader to decide if they are spooky goings on, or just easily explained coincidence. It makes his novels a little like a choose your own adventure story. You want to believe that Madame Rose lives in a magic house you can, or if you want to believe Constance doesn’t leave the house for three days because she’s exhausted – you can. It’s so cleverly done, in all of his books. So you kind of get a two for one deal. A police procedural, and a fantasy book rolled into one.
James Oswald also writes complex characters. While you can’t help but root for Constance in her battles with her superiors, her family, the paparazzi and the books villain; I’m not a hundred percent sure she sometimes doesn’t deserve what she gets. Perhaps that’s what makes her such an interesting heroine. The incidental characters in Oswald’s books are never just that. Mrs Feltham, Con’s neighbour – a favourite from the first book with her kindness and curries gets to play a great role in Nothing To Hide and I look forward to the possibility of her playing a bigger part in future books.
There’s a lot going on in “Nothing To Hide”. Con on the run from The Press, trying to carry out Police work on the sly while being on suspension, possible dare I say it…? Future romantic interest all while tracking down the perpetrator of horrendous ritualistic crimes on young members of a cult. Something Oswald does really well is weave these plot threads all together into an exciting fast paced and above all believable story.
Gruesome at times, something that Oswald has been criticised for in the past, most notably by himself. “Nothing To Hide” never takes this too far. The criticism is unwarranted in my opinion. The now changed opening to “Natural Causes” the first McLean novel is the reason I fell in love with his writing. If you can track down an original, unchanged copy I’d recommend it if you aren’t squeamish.
I have to give special mention to Rose Akroyd, the voice actor on the excellent Audible version of both Constance Fairchild books. Her performance is outstanding and she gives life to all of the books characters, especially Con whose voice in my head is now eternally linked to Rose’s.
Left with a tantalising cliffhanger as to why one of Con’s colleagues dislikes her I am left chomping at the bit for the 3rd book in this excellent series. Add to that the prospect of Tony McLean teaming up with Fairchild and I feel like volunteering to help James Oswald on the farm so we get the next book quicker.
The Kindle version is available HERE
The Hardcover version is available HERE
The Paperback version is available HERE
The Audible version is available HERE