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Chatterton, Ed - 'A Dark Place to Die'
Paperback: 432 pages (Sep. 2012) Publisher: Arrow ISBN: 0099576678

DI Frank Keane is called to a crime scene on the Merseyside shoreline near Crosby where a charred body has been found tied to a scaffolding pole embedded in the sand. He and his partner DS Emily Harris with initially limited forensic evidence and the gruesomeness of the crime start their investigation on the assumption that it is a gang related murder - a supposition reinforced by the discovery of the murder scene in Liverpool Freeport. The discovery that the body is the illegitimate son of Keane's former boss brings former DCI Menno Koopman back from retirement in Australia to Liverpool as he tries to piece together what brought the son he never knew from his birth in Liverpool to a life in Australia and then to his death back in Liverpool and to find out for himself who is responsible for the crime and perhaps take vengeance.

This is a well written police procedural which should appeal to people who like Tony Black, Peter Robinson and Ian Rankin albeit it is a bit gorier than the latter two. It makes good use of the contrasting backdrops of both urban Liverpool and the Australian outback to drive the narrative on. The switching of viewpoints (each chapter tends to focus on what is happening to a different character) does work quite well but the twist at the end I am less sure about as it is signposted early on - think pantomime villain.

This is the first crime novel from Ed Chatterton who as 'Martin Chatterton' has been writing children’s books and Young Adult fiction for over twenty years.

The second book in the Frank Keane series is provisionally titled FROM THE CRADLE TO THE GRAVE and the author states that it begins with an apparently simple - if bloody - murder/suicide in one of the leafier suburbs of Merseyside. I suspect that I will be reading it.

Mark Bailey, Northern Ireland
October 2012

More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 6/10/2012 14:10