Lewis, Jonathan - 'Into Darkness'
The body of a man is found in the mud when the tide goes out of the river. When identified he is found to have been Sir Tommy Best - the nation's favourite actor. However his famous guide dog, Suzy, is missing. The task of what has happened to her and how was she prevented from leading him from danger is given to Detective Chief Inspector Ned Bale and a dog handler, Kate Baker, to discover. Is it murder, accident or suicide? Sir Tommy was well known for being very independent and determined, but what was he doing down by the river in such a run-down area so late at night?
This is a first novel. The highly descriptive passages and the way we are given insight into the mind of Ned and Kate remind me of Chandler and his world-weary detective heroes. By the end of the first page, I was hooked, not by the mystery so much as an interest in the characters, another talent this author has in common with Chandler. Jonathan Lewis has a way of making his characters interesting and amusing and loveable - even "Fatso", the Detective Superintendent, who seems to have no redeeming features and yet is appealing.
There is a romantic subtext between Kate and Ned. This could be annoying and out of place. Yet it adds another dimension to the story and helps to make the characters three dimensional. I cared about these people and that is what will make me look out for another book, hopefully another story involving Ned and Kate, by this promising author.
The writing is careful; every word is needed and considered. It is witty without being slick. Not a book to skip through but one to be enjoyed and savoured. I enjoyed every word.
Susan White, England