Saturday, December 24, 2016

Ash Island by Barry Maitland

First Sentence:  On a November night in 2013, two kilometers off the coast of New South Wales, a helicopter rises from the deck of a Chinese bulk carrier ship.
      
Det. Sgt. Harry Belltree has been reassigned to Newcastle, Australia.  With him is his wife, pregnant and blinded from an auto accident which also killed his parents.  Yet on the job, a corpse has been found, which turns out to be one of many and, Harry suspect, related to the car accident.
      
Maitland does provide excellent descriptions and analogies—“The boom of the surf rises up to her like the rhythmic chant of some primeval chorus, the chorus of the dead.”
      
This is definitely the second of a trilogy, as there are a lot of references to past events.  Maitland does try to catch new readers up, but there are times when it is rather frustrating for those who start with this book.
      
For a cop, Harry certainly plays fast and loose with the law.  However, there is some very good suspense.
      
By far, the female characters are the strength of the story, particularly Harry’s wife, Jenny.  The journalist, Kelly, is also interesting, even though she does commit the classic TSTL (too stupid to live) act.  Sadly, Harry was a difficult character with whom to connect. And yes, sadly, there is a completely unnecessary portent.
     
Ash Island” was an okay read.  The dialogue was rather flat, and one felt a bit manipulated knowing it was necessary to read all three books in order to know the full story.


ASH ISLAND (Pol Proc-Sgt. Harry Belltree-Newcastle, Australia-Contemp) – Okay     
      Maitland, Barry – 2nd of Trilogy
     
Minotaur Books, Nov 2016

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