Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Review: MARLBOROUGH MAN by Alan Carter

Publisher Fremantle Press
Length 297 pages
Format softcover
Published 2017
Series standalone
My Copy provided by the publisher

My Review
The Marlborough Man is a tale of two distinct stories linked by events surrounding protagonist Nick Chester, a once undercover cop from England now residing in New Zealand under a form of witness protection. Nick’s the senior ranking officer in the two officer Havelock police force. He’s got a wife and child, and lives on a farm surrounded by picturesque scenery. The Havelock crime element is minimal, generally consisting of bar scuffles, graffiti and the odd theft. That all changes when Nick’s past comes back to haunt him, bringing along with it a dark tide of unrelated criminal activity to his small town posting.

First thing I must mention about this book is that it is exceptionally well written both from plotting and narrative to the well-defined characters - it all works. Marlborough Man feels like a meaty read; there’s a lot to take in as Nick investigates a spate of child murders linked to Havelock’s elite while dealing with a personal vendetta omnipresent yet on the peripheral to what is eventually touted as the Pied Piper case. Author Alan Carter manages to navigate through the darker crime elements of the book by providing momentary light relief with a spattering of humor here and there – be it from Nick’s wife, Nick himself, a couple of Russian assassins, or two unexpected campers on Nicks’ property forming a nice balance to book.

I read Marlborough Man slower than most other books, savoring each word to make sure I took in the atmosphere as the New Zealand backdrop is just as important as the characters themselves. Forming an appreciation of the place-setting goes a long way to understanding Nick and the cast of characters (perhaps not those in England from Nick’s past).

Marlborough Man is a more than a whodunit, it brings with it a baggage bursting with danger and a cast that are instantly relatable. I highly recommend this book – 5 / 5 stars. 

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