Buried by Lynda La Plante: A gripping, escapist tale of crooks, cops and cunning plot twists - book review -
A burnt-out cottage, a dead body, and over a million pounds worth of charred bank notes linked to a notorious train robbery
A burnt-out cottage, a dead body, and over a million pounds worth of charred bank notes linked to a notorious train robbery… it can only mean one thing. The queen of crime is back!
Wallow in a gripping, escapist tale of crooks, cops and cunning plot twists as Liverpool-born screenwriter and author Lynda La Plante, one of the nation’s favourite police procedural writers, dazzles readers with her crime-cracking new series.
After film director Steve McQueen took his movie Widows, based on La Plante’s original story, to the big screen last year, the award-winning author has brought us a series of gripping tie-in novels including Widows’ Revenge and She’s Out. Both books picked up the plot of a group of robbers’ widows – led by indomitable gang boss Dolly Rawlins – who took up the mantle of their crooked, and now deceased, husbands.
And now we fast forward 25 years to discover not just what happened to those nefarious gangsters’ molls but to meet intriguing new star, DC Jack Warr, a young detective struggling to find his place in the Met after a move from rural Devon, and discovering links to the past that, even in his wildest dreams, he could never have imagined.
Thirty-six-year-old Jack Warr and his girlfriend Maggie, a trainee doctor, have just moved to London to start a new life together. Maggie is a potential high-flyer with her sights set on being an orthopaedic surgeon while Jack, though charming, can’t seem to find his place in the world.
Jack feels he is at a crossroads in his life. He should by now have been a detective inspector rather than a lowly detective constable but he has no ambition and is still unsure whether he really wants a career in policing.
Fortunately, his boss, DCI Simon Ridley, recognises Jack’s exceptional eye for detail and his natural ability to get information out of people and is prepared to give him a chance in the Serious Crime Squad.
And when a badly charred body is discovered, along with the burnt remains of millions of stolen, untraceable bank notes in the aftermath of a fire at isolated Rose Cottage near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, Jack is drawn into an investigation that turns his uneventful life upside down.
It seems the notes can be connected to a notorious crime dating back to 1995… the biggest train robbery the country has ever seen and for which no one has ever been arrested.
Just as Jack finally discovers details of his birth parents from his dying adoptive father, his enquiries into the arson fire lead him deep into a murky criminal underworld… a world he finds himself surprisingly good at navigating.
But as the line of the law becomes blurred, how far will Jack go to find the answers… and what will it cost him?
Packed with revealing flashbacks, fast-paced action, an unforgettable cast of characters, including the restless, unpredictable Jack Warr, and La Plante’s dark, satirical brand of northern humour, Buried is a masterclass in visual storytelling.
Jack’s professional development from clever but unambitious cop to maverick investigator is set to lie at the heart of this atmospheric new series which once again will delight crime fans who like their thrillers to come with plenty of authentic police and forensic detail.
In trademark style from this gifted writer, entertainment value is guaranteed as past and present are threaded seamlessly together by a brutal murder, and we are left wondering in which direction our fascinating hero is headed.
Ideal as a standalone, or as a tasty treat for La Plante’s army of Widows fans, this is the perfect page-turner for the long days of lockdown.
(Zaffre, hardback, £14.99)