Monday, January 23, 2017
Review of Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham (Orion, 2012)
The rebellious but good cop who’s prepared to break the rules, and sometimes the law, to catch dangerous criminals is somewhat of a cliché in police procedurals. Harry Bingham manages, however, to put a fresh spin on the format with Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths, an unconventional, socially awkward, highly intelligent woman who is something of a law to herself, despite her concerted attempts to try and read social situations and do the right thing. Griffiths is a wonderful character that raises Talking to the Dead beyond just another competent police procedural. Bingham gives her real depth, with strong character development occurring as the story unfolds. The plot is engaging with Griffiths running her own investigation within the official investigation into the death of a prostitute and her young daughter, all the while becoming more manic and seemingly regressing into the psychosis that consumed her last two years as a teenager. Bingham nicely moves all the pieces into place, building to a dramatic denouement. Unfortunately these scenes shifted into an action thriller that stretched credibility. Nonetheless, Talking to the Dead was a wonderful read and I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the series and spending more time with DC Fiona Griffiths.