Book Review and Giveaway: The Calling a DC Gary Goodhew Mystery

Guest review by Austin Morgan

The Calling Book CoverSince Karin Slaughter’s Fallen did not quench my need for a good mystery (see the review) I tried again, with far more success.

DC Gary Goodhew is a traditional police procedural protagonist.  He is thorough, dependable, quirky and very likeable.  He also lives in Cambridge, England.  If you were wondering what the DC stands for it is Detective Constable for us Yanks on this side of the pond.  Trivia note: Constable is the lowest rank of a police officer in England.

The Calling is the third book in the DC Gary Goodhew series.  I have not read the previous 2 books but as soon as I get through my backlog they will be immediately requested from the library.  Fortunately for me, while I missed out on some of the relationship details that were obviously addressed in previous books, I never felt that I was missing any pivotal details.

In the calling Kaye Whiting a young promising lady goes missing the day before her grandmother’s 80th birthday party.  An anonymous caller calls the police info hotline saying that Kaye is alive and that Peter Walsh was the culprit.  Initially the question is can Gary save Kaye.  The mystery unfolds smoothly with none of the cheap tricks I have encountered in many other police procedurals recently.

What made this story stand out to me more than the mystery was the changes in the characters through the story.  Alison Bruce’s characters were a very pleasant surprise in a genre known for surprises.  I found myself caring for not only Gary, but most of the secondary characters also.  After reading The Calling I need to read Cambridge Blue and The Siren if for no other reason to learn more about his mate Bryn and what makes Sue Gully blush so frequently.

Unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to visit Cambridge yet.  When I do I hope that Alison Bruce would be willing to show me around.  If the previous two Goodhew books are as descriptive as The Calling after reading them I may start a Cambridge tour service.  Amazingly this great description enhances instead of detracts from the mystery itself.  I also like how she incorporated contemporary works into the story.  For instance the Cross and the Switchblade a novel I greatly enjoyed when I read it in High School appears as well as some well known art work that isn’t being stolen.  I feel Alison Bruce’s ability to bring all these environmental elements together smoothly is what elevates The Calling far above other police procedurals.

I loved this book, but (there is always a but) the narrators voice was very difficult to read.  The book was written in third person omniscient, except when it wasn’t.  The narrator would bounce from omniscient to limited perspective at random.  Worse there were a few places I swore was first person, although after re-reading them I discovered I was wrong.  The problem here was the fact that I felt I needed to re-read thee section specifically because of the narrator and not because I thought I missed a clue.  Also the limited point of view sections did not hide clues that would have allowed you to solve the story earlier.  I still can not understand why Marlowe’s name was hidden for so long.  All it did was annoy me that I was following a character for chapters and I didn’t know her name.  The worst part about this issue is I believe Christine would have likely put the book down, it is one of her pet peeves, and I believe she would really be missing out.

I recommend this to anyone that likes a good police or detective story.  For those of you whom are queasy about such things there are explicit descriptions of sex.  They are pertinent to the story and I highly suggest that you read it anyway.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Title: The Calling: A DC Goodhew Mystery
Author: Alison Bruce
ISBN: 978-1-56947-964-3
Publication Date: June 21, 2011
Reviewed by: Austin Morgan

This is another Goodreads.com’s First Reads book.  This is a great service in which you can sign up to receive books either before or just after they are released.

The Contest:
To win this copy of this book leave a comment on this post.

Rules:

  1. Only comments left at http://christineamsden.com will be entered in the contest
  2. You will receive the exact same Advanced Review Copy I received from the publisher
  3. You must live in the US to win
  4. Contest ends on Sunday June 05, 2011 at 11:59 PM CT
  5. The winner will be contacted via e-mail, the winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected.
Posted in Book Reviews, Mystery/Suspense.

4 Comments

  1. I have the first book in my TBR pile so I would love to get my hands on this one.
    Thanks for the giveaway and great review. I get annoyed too when I have to follow a character and do not know their name.
    scarlet_kira(at)live(dot)com

  2. Apparently pulling a relatively random number out of 3 options for a computer is pretty difficult (I actually already knew this, but I thought it might be fun trivia for everyone else. At any rate according to the person that one 8 out of 19 different random number generation engines is Kelly (I was surprised by that usually 1/0 is the hardest number to pick).

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