My grateful thanks to Clara Diaz at Little Brown for a copy of Burned and Broken by Mark Hardie in return for an honest review. Burned and Broken is published by Sphere, an imprint of Little Brown and is available for purchase directly from the publisher and on Amazon as well as from other retailers like Waterstones.
There’s a giveaway for UK readers to win a copy of Burned and Broken still running until midnight on 30th January 2017 by visiting my blog post here.
Burned and Broken
A vulnerable young woman, fresh out of the care system, is trying to discover the truth behind the sudden death of her best friend.
The charred body of a policeman – currently the subject of an internal investigation – is found in the burnt-out-shell of his car on the Southend seafront.
To DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell of the Essex Police Major Investigation Team, the two events seem unconnected. But as they dig deeper into their colleague’s murder, dark secrets begin to emerge.
Can Pearson and Russell solve both cases, before more lives are destroyed?
My Review of Burned and Broken
Burned and Broken is a fast paced police procedural crime thriller. It has many features lovers of crime fiction will recognise and adore. Sadly it wasn’t entirely for me, as at times I found it slightly old-fashioned and a little bit cliched, with corrupt police and DIs in stained and crumpled suits. I also felt as if the author had researched so thoroughly that he wanted to ensure the reader had even the smallest detail so that sometimes description got in the way of the events. There seemed to be an unremitting pessimism from the local settings to the language and characterisation that made me feel quite depressed as I read.
That said, the plotting is extremely well constructed, although I felt there are perhaps too many strands so that the tension didn’t come through as fully as it might. However, I didn’t work out what had happened until the denouement so I have to give Mark Hardie great credit for that. I also liked the structure with the Prologue and then the chapters leading back to the present day.
I didn’t engage with any of the characters very fully but did feel that Donna’s fragile mental state was very well depicted. Indeed, there are some interesting themes touched upon in Burned and Broken, with mental health, relationships, the care system and society’s ills all coming through strongly.
Whilst I felt a little underwhelmed by Burned and Broken, it may be that it came after a couple of books I have absolutely adored in completely different genres. I did enjoy the story and felt the quality of writing was good. I think I’d like to read the next in the series to see how Mark Hardie’s style develops.
About Mark Hardie
Mark Hardie began writing full time after completely losing his eyesight in 2002. He has completed a creative writing course and an advanced creative writing course at the Open University, both with distinction.
You can follow Mark on Twitter.