My grateful thanks to Helen Upton at Little Brown for a copy of Cambridge Black by Alison Bruce in return for an honest review and to help me prepare for interviewing Alison at the first ever Deepings Literary Festival, more details of which can be found here.
Cambridge Black is the latest in Alison Bruce’s DC Goodhew series and was published by Constable, an imprint of Little Brown, on 23rd February 2017. Cambridge Black is available for purchase in e-book and hardback (and paperback pre-order) here.
A cold case waits to be solved . . . and a killer waits in the wings.
Amy was seven years old when her father was arrested for murder. His subsequent trial and conviction scarred her childhood and cast a shadow over her life until, twenty-two years later, new evidence suggests he was innocent and Amy sets out to clear his name.
But Amy is not the only person troubled by the past. DC Gary Goodhew is haunted by the day his grandfather was murdered and is still searching for answers, determined to uncover the truth about his grandfather’s death and find his killer.
But, right now, someone is about to die. Someone who has secrets and who once kept quiet but is now living on borrowed time. Someone who will be murdered because disturbing the past has woken a killer.
My Review of Cambridge Black
An arson attack in 1991 forms the basis of secrets and lies that reverberate for more than the next two decades.
I haven’t read any of the previous DC Goodhew books and I have to say that didn’t affect my enjoyment at all as Cambridge Black works perfectly as a stand alone, although I would now like to go back and read them all because I enjoyed it so much and I would like to find out more about what brought DC Goodhew to his present position and relationships.
Cambridge Black has an incredibly well crafted plot so that I was kept guessing right to the end and making the connections between three seemingly disparate plots was hugely entertaining. I thought the way in which all the strands came together leading to what appears to be the final book in the series was extremely clever. The ending is so fast paced I had to make a conscious effort to slow down my reading to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
Characters are varied and complex and I had to work quite hard to keep tabs on all the relationships which was an element I really enjoyed. Alison Bruce doesn’t patronise her readers, but has a sophisticated style that gradually reveals layers of deceit and untruth so that readers find out what is happening in tune with those in the narrative. I also thoroughly enjoyed the naturalistic quality of the direct speech and the small details that brought the text alive. I could picture the Cambridge settings so vividly.
Characters show the full range of human emotion, but in Cambridge Black it is revenge, deceit and anger that are so well defined. Whilst I found some actions totally reprehensible I could understand exactly why those involved behaved the way they did.
I felt Cambridge Black was a sophisticated, intelligent, well written and entertaining thriller that held my attention from the first word to the last. I only wish I had encountered DC Goodhew sooner and I’m looking forward to asking Alison more about him soon!
About Alison Bruce
Alison Bruce is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. Her previous DC Gary Goodhew novels are published by Constable & Robinson. A fan of vintage clothes and the rockabilly music scene, for two years she wrote and presented a monthly 1950s music feature on BBC Wiltshire Sound.
Alison Bruce has also written two non-fiction books, Cambridgeshire Murders and Billington, Victorian Executioner, both published by the History Press.