So I decided to start the Henry Christie series by Nick Oldham at the 20th book in the series. I was very pleased to find out that this book was a prequel, and it would not feel like I was missing a lot of back history on the series.
Summary of the book at the author's website:
It's 1982 - and Henry is a young cop with a point to prove and an attitude to control. His youthful enthusiasm can sometimes cloud his better judgement. When a series of rash decisions results in disaster, Henry determines to put things right his own way - despite being warned off by his detective inspector. Setting out to smash singlehandedly a dangerous criminal enterprise, Henry's impetuous actions lead to more conflict - and a very real threat to his own life.This story is set in Rossendale Valley in Lancashire, and starts with Henry arresting a man in a case of domestic violence, and then having to let him go because a superior doesn't think the victim will follow through with the charge. He is idealistic, and unhappy with the cynical approach of his superiors. He has some good ideas and can see where his department is lacking in planning skills, but he also is too sure of his own opinions and goes out on his own too much. In other words, he has a lot to learn.
For the most part I liked this book and I plan to follow up and read some other books in the series. I like Henry's idealistic approach and hope that he continues to hold on to some of that as he matures in the job. The action was fast-paced and I got involved in the story. Nick Oldham was a policeman for many years before he retired, so I am sure he knows a thing or two about police procedure.
The negative side of this book was the plethora of sex scenes. I am not a prude, but in general I don't think a lot of emphasis on the policeman's sex life is going to advance the story. In this case it was not realistic; too many women throwing themselves at Henry in too short a time. I did not find Henry's attitude in this area appealing. But there are readers who would not be bothered so that is really just a preference I have. This element was balanced by a good plot involving primarily Henry and his superior. This police procedural is a bit more dark and gritty than the previous book I reviewed: Hard Going by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles.
Thoughts on other books by Nick Oldham:
- A post at Petrona has some nice things to say about some of Nick Oldham's earlier novels.
- At Scene of the Crime, Nick Oldham talks about using Blackpool as the setting of most of the series.
If anyone has experience or thoughts on the books in this series, I would love to get your opinions.