*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author and to Emma Welton of damppebbles blog tours. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: A homeless man. Violently strangled. No leads. Except his past.
An outsider himself, DS George Cross is drawn to this case. The discovery of the dead man’s connection to an old cold case then pulls Cross in further. Convinced this is where the answer to the murder lies, he sets about solving another that someone has spent the past fifteen years thinking they’ve got away with.
Cross’ relentless obsession with logic, detail and patterns is what makes him so irritatingly brilliant. It doesn’t exactly make him popular with colleagues or his superiors, though. He has numerous enemies in the force wanting to see him fail.
Red flags are soon raised as suspicious inconsistencies and errors in the original detective’s investigation come to light. Now retired, this ex-cop has powerful friends in the force and a long-standing dislike of Cross.
Set in picturesque Bristol in the Southwest of England, it’s not long before the city reveals its dark underbelly, in a case of intriguing twists and turns whose result astonishes even those involved.
Difficult and awkward, maybe. But Cross has the best conviction rate in Avon & Somerset Police. By far. Will this case put an end to that?
The Dentist is the first book in the DS George Cross series, and I am thrilled that the second book has just been released, as this book has shot straight onto my favourite series list!
It’s not often that a police procedural really excites me, but Tim Sullivan really blew me away with this story. Not only is the plot a gripping mystery, but he creates a unique and utterly compelling character with his neuro-divergent detective, DS George Cross.
Cross gives us an intriguing insight into his thought processes and emotions, as he decodes the people and situations around him, as puzzled by societal niceties as he is by murder mysteries – in fact, probably more so. The story is peppered by analysis of the practical use (or not!) of such everyday interactions, cues and rituals – as Cross must learn such things by rote and then remember to apply them appropriately – and the information is endlessly fascinating to me.
In addition to Cross’ unique viewpoint, we also get to see him through the eyes of those around him – suspects, colleagues and family – giving the reader access to insights about the investigation and investigator at the same time, as we can compare the social details he misses with the facts he focuses on to get a clearer, wider picture. It’s not often I see a neuro-divergent main character and feel the author has handled it perfectly – with realism, sensitivity and respect, and without making Cross’ differences into a party-trick or comic relief (although there are a few moments of humour too).
The story is well-plotted, full of puzzle-solving, and with just the right balance between the professional and personal relationships of the main characters. The side-characters are well-developed too, and interesting in their own right, with plenty of scope in the tensions and motivations between Ottley, Alice, Carson and Raymond to fuel what I hope will be a long-running series.
Entertaining, educational, suspenseful, superbly constructed… just all round brilliant. I can’t praise this book enough, and fans of police procedurals looking for something fresh and fun would do well to pick it up immediately. Meanwhile, I’ve already added book 2 to the top of my wish list!
Alice stood there for a moment, as if unsure who she should obey, then left.– Tim Sullivan, The Dentist
Ottey looked back at Cross who was oblivious to this.
‘”Well done”, “good work”…’ said Ottey.
‘I don’t understand.’
He looked at her but she wasn’t giving him any more help on this one. He knew he’d done something wrong, just not what it was. But she wasn’t upset which meant someone else was. He then looked at Mackenzie who had gone back to her desk. She’d been up all night she said, doing this list. He thought for a minute, played the conversation back in his mind. He’d been business-like, not rude, he was fairly sure about that. Then he got it. He hadn’t said ‘thank you’. She needed reassurance and gratitude. Noted.
Mind you they shouldn’t need all this molly-coddling. Someone’d been murdered.
You can find more from Tim Sullivan at his website here, or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.
The Dentist is available on Amazon right now, and its sequel, The Cyclist has recently been released!
Don’t forget to check out the other blog stops on the tour for more great reviews and content (see the poster below for details)!