Wow. I wanted to give this book five stars but I recently thought about five star ratings and how they should be for books that I love, books that I want to read again the minute I finish them and books that everybody should read. And really this book was just an excellent crime thriller that I couldn't put down. I would usually give a book like this five stars but as I said I'm trying to save that rating for amazing books (that said I'm sure people will look at my five star rated books and see books they might not rate very highly themselves but I'm going off topic).
I read a lot of crime novels and have a to read list which is probably never going to be empty. I recently discovered this author and added him to my to read list and decided to start with this book, the first in a series featuring DI Rob Brennan. I must say the author has created a fantastic character in Brennan and one that I enjoyed reading about. In fact a lot of the book focused on Brennan's character, his family and his back story and this is one of the things I love most about series crime fiction rather than standalone crime novels. You get to know the characters and like them, hate them, care about them and want to keep reading about them. I think Brennan could become one of my favourite fictional detectives, my all time favourite being Mark Billingham's Tom Thorne. Brennan reminded me of Thorne once or twice. Plus it helped that he actually has a brain rather than spending the whole book without one and suddenly finding one in the last chapter.
I worked out where the story was going quite early on and there weren't any major twists in the book that would shock the reader. As I said a lot of the book was about Brennan and his relationships with his family and colleagues, getting to know the character. The villains of the book were despicable characters, the sort of people you see on the street and try to ignore. You feel no sympathy or remorse for them, just bewilderment at how they end up in such a state. There was also a bit of humour in the book and I liked the relationship between Brennan and his boss and his blase attitude towards his superiors and doing (or not doing) things by the book.
I finished the book in only a few hours which to me is always the sign of a good book. My poor Kindle gets used a lot as it is but it's hardly been switched off today since I started reading this book. I mark my enjoyment of a book by how quickly I read it and how much I wish I was reading it when I'm not. And I enjoyed this book, a lot. Enough to move the second DI Brennan book to the top of my to read list anyway and to recommend Tony Black to fans of Stuart MacBride, Mark Billingham etc.