Monday, November 5, 2018
Book Review: 'Murder has no Guilt (DCI Cook Thriller Series Book 9)' by Phillip Strang
‘No one knows who was the target or why, but there are eight dead.’
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 DCI Cook Thriller Series, of which this is Book 6 – the first books are 1- MURDER IS A TRICKY BUSINESS, 2 - MURDER HOUSE, 3 - MURDER IS ONLY A NUMBER, - 4 MURDER IN LITTLE VENICE, 5 - MURDER IS THE ONLY OPTION, 6 – MURDER ON NOTTING HILL, 7- MURDER IN ROOM 346, 8 – MURDER OF A SILENT MAN and now 9 – MURDER HAS NO GUILT.
But it takes more than on the spot witness to bring the story 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 story 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 form the very first page and continues that degree of suspense throughout. We never tire of DCI Cook’s personality or adaptability or ingenuity.
For this ninth volume in the series Phillip once again shows his inimitable polished skills as a writer but also as a man who can successfully condense his new story in a fine synopsis – ‘A mass shooting. An amoral Romanian gangster. A Russian oligarch who claims to be an honest businessman, but isn’t. No one knows who was the target or why, but there are eight dead. The men seem the most likely, or could have it been one of the two women, the attractive Gillian Dickenson, or even the celebrity-obsessed Sal Maynard? There’s a gang war brewing, and if there are deaths, they don’t care as long as it’s not one of them. But to Detective Chief Inspector Isaac Cook, it's his area of London, and he needs to find out who killed the eight. It’s unpredictable, and initially, it had been the West Indian gangs that had held sway in the area. But then, a more vicious Romanian gangster had usurped them. And now he’s being marginalised by the Russians. And their leader is the head of the most vicious Russian mafia organisation, and he’s got residency in England, as well as money and influence, the ear of those in power. ‘
DCI Isaac seems to have more stories about his prowess and his unique personality than any other contemporary ongoing crime controller. Strang has him so well defined that we’d recognize him were he to walk in the room. And that is fine writing in a fine series. Thriller with all the additives.
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.