I want to thank Jill Burkinshaw for inviting me and this Blog Tour for Brass In Pocket. I have also included my review of the prequel novella Devil’s Kitchen.
Title: Inspector Drake #0.5 Devil’s Kitchen by Stephen Puleston
****Currently free on Kindle****
A tragic accident?
When two bodies are found sprawled at the bottom of the Devil’s Kitchen in the mountains of Snowdonia, it’s believed the man found dead killed his wife and then committed a suicide. But something doesn’t feel right to DI Ian Drake and his gut instinct has never let him down before.
Or murder on a mountain?
Drake suspects at least one of the deaths could be suspicious, but who would kill such an ordinary couple and why? This might be Drake’s first murder inquiry, but his years as a detective have taught him one thing – every murder has a motive, and every killer leaves a trace.
The story opens with Ian Drake, newly promoted to Detective Inspector and he’s keen to prove himself when the call comes in about two bodies being found in the Cwn Idwal valley in the middle of Snowdonia, otherwise known as the Devil’s Kitchen.
It looks like a simple murder suicide but Drake is unsure. With the help of DS Caren Waits he wants to find out what really happened.
This is a good short story, it’s only eleven chapters long, and a nice introduction to the characters of DI Drake and DS Waits.
DI Drake seems a little OCD and serious which nicely complements DS Waits who’s a bit more laid back and messy.
I haven’t read many stories set in Wales, especially crime fiction and I’m interested in seeing where this series is headed. The review for the first full length novel in the series, Brass In Pocket is up next!
I read it in one sitting and I think it’s ideal for a commute or if you’ve got a bit of spare time.
Title: Brass in Pocket: Inspector Drake #1 by Stephen Puleston
It is the middle of the night…The road is deserted…A killer is waiting…
Two traffic officers are killed on an isolated mountain pass in North Wales. Inspector Drake is called to the scene and quickly discovers a message left by the killer – traffic cones in the shape of a No 4.
The killer starts sending the Wales Police Service lyrics from famous rock songs. Are they messages or is there some hidden meaning in them?
Does it all mean more killings are likely? When a politician is killed Drake has his answer. And then the killer sends more song lyrics. Now Drake has to face the possibility of more deaths but with numbers dominating the case Drake has to face his own rituals and obsessions.
Finally, when the killer threatens Drake and his family he faces his greatest challenge in finding the killer before he strikes again.
Detective Ian Drake is an inspector in the Wales Police Service and is based in the northern division headquarters near Colwyn Bay on the coast. North Wales is a large area that stretches from the coast to the border with England. It is an area rich in history and great scenery.
Book 0.5: The Devils Kitchen (a prequel novella)
Book 1: Brass in Pocket
Book 2: Worse than Dead
Book 3: Against the Tide
Book 4: Dead on your Feet
Book 5: March 2018
The book opens with the death of two dodgy policemen on an isolated road. The killer leaves a number four at the crime scene then sends a message to the baffled police in the form of song lyrics. A second murder occurs with the same M.O. and it’s up to Inspector Drake and his team to stop the killer before they strike again.
This is book is set in the picturesque setting of north Wales like Devil’s Kitchen. Inspector Drake is a man on the edge. He’s ambitious and he’s been given one of the biggest cases of his life yet suffering from mental health problems,.i.e. obsessive compulsive disorder. The author conveys OCD very well and shows how when their stress levels raise they find comfort in their routines (in Drakes case, it’s making sure his desk is tidy and orderly and doing his daily sudoku puzzle). I know people who suffer from the condition and this is very accurate. He’s not particularly likeable but that is balanced out by his DS, Caren Waits.
I also liked the chapters written from the prospective of the killer with little glimpses inside their mind, (if you are a regular reader of my reviews you probably know it’s one of my favourite things in crime novels).
I have to be honest after reading the prequel novella first which seemed very well put together, I was a little disappointed by the editing of this book. I think it could have done with a little more revising, as sometimes I thought that I’d missed something or some information was left out.
The book was it was named after a song Brass In Pocket by the Pretenders (I’ve vaguely heard of the band myself but not the song) and the killer taunts them with lyrics from that and other songs but the song lyrics don’t actually appear in the book. I feel if the author couldn’t get permission to use the lyrics, then maybe he could have used something else.
Also it has the tired old trope of Scousers (that a nickname for people from the Liverpool area to any international readers) being either thugs or incompetent which as a person who was born and bred in Liverpool and does not have a violent bone in my body I find exceptionally annoying. I’m also not denying that there are violent thugs floating around my city but if there were as many as there are in crime books/tv shows we’d be overrun with them which is not the case.
I write mysteries and thrillers.
I have published the first novel in a series featuring Inspector Drake based in North Wales and also the first in a series with Inspector John Marco based in Cardiff. The first Drake mystery is called BRASS IN POCKET and the second WORSE THAN DEAD. The third, AGAINST THE TIDE and the fourth, DEAD ON YOUR FEET.
Before turning to crime fiction I had written three other unpublished novels and you can read about my writing and about Wales, one of the most beautiful countries in the world, on my website http://www.stephenpuleston.co.uk/
I was brought up on the Isle of Anglesey, off the North Wales coast and went to school in Holyhead. After a degree in Theology from London University I decided to train as a lawyer and returned to work in the practice run by my father on Anglesey. For many years I worked as a lawyer in a small practice representing clients in the criminal courts and doing divorce work all of which has given me valuable raw material for my novels.
I still live and work in North Wales where the Inspector Drake novels are set.