Review: No Name Lane

no name laneNo Name Lane by Howard Linskey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: uncorrected proof courtesy of publisher

I have read my share of mysteries / thrillers / crime novels. I’ve read a wide range of them from police procedurals to the amateur sleuths (including those called ‘cozy mysteries’). From the blurb, I expected No Name Lane to be a police procedurals kind of mystery but it didn’t quite fit the bill as the journalist seems to be the one doing the detecting. In effect, the book sent me slightly off kilter since the police appear to be quite incompetent in solving mysteries.

”You’re more of a copper than a reporter,” [said the Detective Constable to the journalist]

There were 2 main perspectives: Tom Carney (journalist) and Detective Constable Ian Bradshaw. With Tom, we probed the mysteries from angles which would best present the stories to sell to newspapers. Tom was one of the local boys and as he’s not with the police, he has a better chance to speak with the villagers to dig into their stories. He might’ve been down on his luck but he is an intelligent man intent on solving mysteries. Tom’s perspective is the more interesting of the two as clues were dropped and secrets unfurled.

Detective Constable Ian Bradshaw hasn’t been doing too well either. He is a flop in his chosen career and he continues to blunder his way on the job. With Ian, we witnessed the highly political situation within the ranks and just how clicky his colleagues are; these are probably the reason for their ineffectualness. I found this to be peculiar in that whilst their investigations eliminate suspects etc., there doesn’t seem to be many clues uncovered to lead them to successful investigations.

There wasn’t an established firm relationship between Tom and Ian to begin with, so they weren’t quite working together. If this is supposed to be a first book of series, then it’s a fairly promising start. If not, it is interesting choices of POVs. In addition to these two, there were also Helen’s (a local journalist), the killer’s, and also a few visitations to the 1930s. This last was an absolute shock to my system as the chapters were told in 1930s whilst the rest of the novel is set in current times.

There were a number of things in this book which I thought were a bit of an odd fish. They’re not necessarily bad but they really threw me off. On another note, though, I really enjoyed the mysteries and I really liked Tom Carney. Despite the slow beginning, the pace of the story picked up quite well as soon as all characters introduced and was actually a captivating read. No Name Lane was a surprising read but with an engaging plot, I was caught in the thrill of the chase and enjoyed the twisting ride.

Thanks to Penguin Books Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

View all my reviews

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