Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Book Review: 'The DI Tremayne Thriller Series: Books 1 - 6: The Complete Series' by Phillip Strang

Six lessons in terror with Detective Inspector Keith Tremayne

Australian author Phillip Strang has gained his platform as an adventure writer through his career installing telecommunications networks in many remote and exotic parts of the globe, including time spent in Afghanistan and Pakistan - an experience that allowed him to gain direct insights in to the ongoing conflicts there. He has also spent considerable time in Africa including Liberia, Nigeria, and Guinea. It is this direct contact with troubled countries that gives his books intense credibility: he has first hand contact with the events he shares in his books such as DI TREMAYNE Thriller Series - DEATH UNHOLY, DEATH AND THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE, DEATH AND THE LUCKY MAN, DEATH AT COOMBE FARM, DEATH BY A DEAD MAN’S HAND, and DEATH IN THE VILLAGE

But it takes more than on the spot witness to bring the stories Phillip has written to life in the format of a book - and that is where he towers above others creating novels with similar storylines. To bring a series of this magnitude into focus it is imperative that the foundation of the place and the people are presented accurately in order to bring the terror that is to come to meaningful life. 

Phillip sets his stage well from the first page of Book 6: ‘One minute, Gloria Wiggins was there in the main street making idle gossip, her passion as well as her hobby, and then the next, she was dead, a rope around her neck and hanging from a beam in the garage of her house. There were some that said it was poetic justice, retribution for the malignancy that she had perpetuated for too long. And some still blamed her for the death of the previous vicar after she had stood up in the church one Sunday and denounced him. The vicar, justifiably distraught, had left the church and headed out of the village on his motorcycle, only to slip on a patch of ice and go headfirst into a tree, cracking his helmet as well as his head. Mrs. Wiggins – no one remembered her husband, and believed him to be a figment of her imagination – saw it as the hand of God, and that her outburst was only the Lord talking to her to denounce the sinner. And now, the evil-mouthed woman was dead, and Stephanie Underwood, her next-door neighbour, along with virtually everyone in the village was not sorry to see her go. Salisbury wasn’t that far away, only twenty-two minutes if the traffic on the main road two miles away was flowing, forty-five if it wasn’t, but Stephanie Underwood wasn’t bothered either way. For the last twenty-eight years, she had not left the village, except for the occasional emergency: root canal surgery, a touch of gout, an irregular heartbeat, and shortness of breath. Out there was a world of people and motor cars and exciting things to see and do, but not for her. She had completed her schooling, done well, five O levels, three A levels, and there were some, her parents included, who had thought she would go on to university, but never her. The village gave her what she wanted, and after her parents died, she had, at the age of nineteen, the cottage and their life insurance. Her days were routine: up at six in the morning, a walk around the area, and then back to her television. At ten in the evening, she would raise herself from her favourite chair, and go to bed. The only movement during those hours would be to feed herself and to commit to her ablutions. Now, the presence at her door of two people she did not want to see, and her favourite programme on the television as well. ‘Detective Inspector Keith Tremayne, Sergeant Clare Yarwood, Salisbury Police, Homicide,’ the man said. Stephanie saw a man in his fifties, not too fit, a belly that covered the upper part of his belt. Alongside him, a woman in her thirties, neatly dressed in a fitted jacket, a white blouse, and a skirt that was too short, knee-length. ‘We understand that you found the body of Gloria Wiggins,’ Tremayne said, momentarily talking to the back of the woman’s head as she strained to look at the television.’’ Scene set with only a hint of what is to come.

The stories are distilled well in Phillip’s synopses, but it is the pleasure of being captured by each volume that makes the appreciation of mystery grow. Elegant writing and a keen sense of suspense – this is one of Phillip Strang’s prime thriller seires - a winner!

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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