The Backs by Alison Bruce

The Backs by Alison Bruce

A fresh start in a place you hate. Even tougher with a killer watching…Jane Osborne left Cambridge and vowed she’d never return. An unexpected twist of fortune results in DC Goodhew bringing her back to the remnants of her old life and a confrontation with the man who killed her sister. Meanwhile a burning car on the outskirts of Cambridge leads to the discovery of the body of its owner, Paul Marshall. There seems nothing to connect it to either a recent assault, or to Jane Osborne, until a shocking discovery rips Goodhew’s investigation apart.

The Backs represents the fifth book in a wonderful series featuring Cambridge’s own DC Gary Goodhew, there’s very little that I can add to my previous reviews of Alison’s work but I will try! Yet another slick performance this book is over in a flash, read in two sittings and measuring 300 pages it simply moves along at a rapid and well thought out pace and before you know it it’s over.

Direction is good, as is the storyline and I enjoyed how it all came together in the end, well-paced and well thought out. Having said that, I think it could have been a little more drawn out in the closing chapters, I felt it was a tiny bit rushed. Maybe that’s simply a case of I didn’t want it to finish or that the crimes had been solved quicker than I had anticipated I don’t know. It certainly doesn’t detract from a terrific read, this is purely personal.

It’s clear that Alison Bruce has found her home in Cambridge both in real life and on the pages of her Goodhew series. She knows her way around, what she wants to achieve and I, after reading all five of her books, know exactly where she’s coming from. Despite being a crime novel I feel at home too. Whenever I pick up a new title in the series I immediately feel comfortable, content even. It’s hard to put into words but I really do enjoy discovering Cambridge through the eyes of Bruce, Goodhew and his grandmother – arguably the best character in the series for me!

Talking of characters, everyone you’d expect is back including Marks and Kincaide. However, we see a different side to both characters this time around. We see a softer side to Kincaide. He’s pleasant to people, accommodating and he shares information with Goodhew, something he has been reluctant to do in the past. This isn’t the Kincaide we’ve come to love, hate and enjoy. The rivalry between the two detectives is still there although this time it’s mute. It’s great to see a more reserved Kincaide but it’s not the same and I want him back fighting with Goodhew and creating havoc! I also wanted to see more from Goodhew’s eccentric grandmother – but then I’m never satisfied with that!

Another important player in this title is Jane Osborne. A strange and colourful character I couldn’t quite work her out, she takes a little getting used to but she’s a powerful character, one who appears to know where she’s going, what she wants and how to achieve it. Once back in Cambridge she begins to lay down roots and change. I really enjoyed the role she played in the book.

So there we have it, not wishing to give the game away The Backs represents another stellar performance from Bruce, the series just seems to get better and better, roll on the next title. I know I can’t wait to walk in the shoes of Goodhew as he tackles Cambridge’s next case.

Available to buy in Hardback and Kindle formats.

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: C & R Crime (19 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1472102118
  • ISBN-13: 978-1472102119
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