Tuesday 17 August 2021

📖 Book Review ~ Catch as Catch Can by Malcolm Hollingdrake


Hobeck Books
April 2021

The Merseyside Crime Series #1

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

A mutilated body apparently washed up on a windswept beach…

A violent criminal gang preys on moped riders across the area…

A teenage girl is desperate to escape sexual exploitation…

It’s a tough introduction to Merseyside for Detective Inspector April Decent, who’s just arrived from her native Yorkshire. Together with new colleague Skeeter Warlock, Decent quickly discovers there’s a sinister link between them all, one that will bring them face-to-face with some uncomfortable home truths.

Catch as Catch Can is the first in the Merseyside Crime Series from Malcolm Hollingdrake – bestselling author of the Harrogate Crime Series.

📖 My Thoughts..

Detective Inspector April Decent has her work cut out when she arrives in Merseyside to take over an investigative team of detectives who are already a tight knit group. However, the discovery of a mutilated body on the beach at Crosby only lends a sense of urgency to the department especially when links are discovered to a criminal gang who seem to be terrorizing the streets of Liverpool.

It's been great fun getting to know this interesting bunch of detectives who are not only embroiled in a complicated investigative case but who must also get to know how their new boss operates. Prominent in the team is the imaginatively named DS Skeeter Warlock, who along with DI April Decent doesn't suffer fools, and who, with the rest of the team, is equally determined to rid the Liverpool streets of the worst kind of villain, namely those who prey on the weak and vulnerable. 

The story moves strongly and swiftly, sometimes getting the perspective of the crime gangs as they go about their criminal activity, and also that of the investigative team as they do their best to bring the perpetrators to justice.

It has been exciting to spend time in Merseyside with this new crimes series with its setting in a city I know well and the beach in Crosby I have visited many times. Thankfully, I have never made a gruesome discovery but I enjoyed how the author brought Antony Gormley's Another Place to life with its shifting sands and ever changing atmosphere. The city of Liverpool, such an important character in the novel, comes vibrantly alive, the scouse sense of deprecating humour, the mean and moody streets and the intricate twists and turns, all add a sense of realism to the sinister activity which is affecting city life.

Well written, with a fine eye for detail and great local knowledge of this part of the North West, Catch as Catch Can gets this series off to a great start. I look forward to meeting DI Decent and DS Warlock again in Syn, the next book in the Merseyside Crime Series.

You could say that the writing was clearly on the wall for anyone born in a library that they might aspire to be an author but to get to that point Malcolm Hollingdrake has travelled a circuitous route.

Malcolm worked in education for many years, even teaching for a period in Cairo before he started writing, a challenge he had longed to tackle for more years than he cares to remember. He is the author of the popular Harrogate series featuring DCI Cyril Bennett along with this new Merseyside crime series.

Twitter @MHollingdrake


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