Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Die With Me: Elena Forbes

Description from the book flap:
When fourteen-year-old Gemma Kramer's broken body is found on the floor of St. Sebastian's Church, the official ruling is that she jumped to her death from the organ gallery. But then a witness claims to have seen Gemma kissing a much older man before the two disappeared into the church together. After the toxicology report comes back showing traces of GHB in her system, a full-scale murder investigation is launched.
At the helm is DI Mark Tartaglia, a stubborn detective known for following his hunches. It's Tartaglia's first time in charge, and he walks right into a political minefield as the murder squad turns up three more suspicious deaths -- all involving vulnerable young women falling from strange places, all initially ruled suicides.

DI Mark Tartaglia and DS Sam (Samantha) Donovan are straightforward investigators with no overriding hangups or addictions. There are relationship issues within the department, but that is about as complicated as it gets, and I liked that. I don't mind it when a book focuses on a policeman who is damaged or recovering, but sometimes I like a straight police story. Unfortunately this one is also about a serial killer and that is not my favorite story line.

This book is the first in a series of four books. Although the books are billed as the Mark Tartaglia series, DS Sam Donovan also gets plenty of involvement and attention in this one. At one time she was attracted to Mark, but decided early on that wasn't going to work. There is also a focus on the new head of the group, DCI Carolyn Steele, who is brought in to take over the investigation when it begins to get more attention. Mark resents this but handles himself well in the situation. We get a look at the personal lives of several of the detectives, but not to the extent that it takes over the main story.

For readers who like serial killer novels or don't have a bias one way or the other, I can say that this is a good police procedural and I highly recommend it. The detectives are not overly flawed; they have the normal amount of problems that anyone would have. None of them are perfect; none are know-it-alls. The detection is realistic and there is sufficient action and tension to keep one interested, without any graphic violence.

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Publisher:  MacAdam/Cage Publishing, 2007.
Length:      341 pages
Format:      Hardcover
Series:       Mark Tataglia, #1
Setting:      London
Genre:       Police Procedural
Source:      I purchased my copy.

16 comments:

  1. Thanks for the proviso Tracy - I am one of those who seems to have become a bit inured to the serial killer plots of late ...

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    1. Well, then you would like this one, Sergio, should you encounter it. It was a well done story in my opinion.

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    2. Sorry Tracy, what I meant was that I just tend to not enjoy them per se anymore as I've read / seen too many of them ...

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    3. You are right, Sergio, I misunderstood. I have not read that many but when I do, they usually don't agree with me. Not full enjoyment anyway. And unfortunately I have a good number of unread mysteries about serial killers that I have been avoiding forever.

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  2. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Tracy. And how refreshing to have a couple of protagonists who are not deeply dysfunctional. Sometimes, as you say, it's nice to have a solid mystery story without such a sleuth.

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    1. It was good, Margot, even with the serial killer aspect. I like my sleuths not too good and not too bad.

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  3. I haven't heard of the author or series before and in truth I don't feel compelled to investigate any further. Not a bad thing really.

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    1. We both have too many books, Col. I have even purchased 5 more books since the book sale, although one is just a different edition of a book I already have.

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  4. This sounds like one I would enjoy, especially coming off Hunter/McBain week. Altho, admittedly I hate the idea of children victims. Good review, Tracy.

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    1. I agree, Mathew. Children as victims is hard to read about. That aside, this is a well-done police procedural and I plan to try another of her books.

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  5. Sounds good to me too, Tracy even if I've never heard of this author before. I don't mind a serial killer novel now and then though it is not my favorite sort of thing most especially when they give me the killer's viewpoint in chapter after chapter - I mean, who cares what a killer thinks? At any rate, I will give this one a try.

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    1. I know what you mean about too much of the killer's viewpoint, Yvette. This one was not so bad with that. I do hope you like it.

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  6. I feel I have read one of her books, Tracy, but can't pin it down. I must go and look that up and see....

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    1. I would love to know a bit about the later books. I think at least one more of them features a serial killer. I think I have the third one and not the 2nd.

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  7. Tracy, if I have a choice I wouldn't read novels about child victims but then there are other characters, like the two DIs in this book (they seem to be coming in pairs nowadays?), who sound interesting.

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    1. The two detectives in this book did have an interesting dynamic, Prashant. I am sure it really affects how good a job they do.

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