Friday, July 1, 2016

Review of A Killing Frost by R.D. Wingfield (2008, Corgi)

A crime wave is sweeping Denton, but the police station is severely short staffed.  Detective Inspector Frost is running from pillar-to-post trying to discover whose foot has been found in Denton woods, find a couple of missing girls, investigate a couple of rapes, handle a decomposing corpse found hidden on an embankment, catch a blackmailer of a supermarket, ensnare a paedophile ring, and handle a man who claims to killed his wife despite evidence to the contrary.  To add to his woes the new chief inspector wants all the glory but not to do the work and is colluding with his boss, Superintendent Mullett, to force Frost to move divisions.  Lacking sleep and a decent meal, and fighting a rear-guard action against his bosses, Frost struggles to solve the various cases.  The problem is that bodies keep piling up and a young girl is still missing.

A Killing Frost is the sixth and final book in the Frost series.  As with the previous books, Wingfield does a great job at weaving together a multiple set of engaging plot lines, overloading the already overstretched Frost with cases and internal battles.  That he does so without losing the reader is quite remarkable given the number of open cases being handled and the quick and relentless pace of the narrative.  Along with the plotting, the characterisation is excellent and the dialogue and interactions between characters is superb, as one might expect from a writer with much experience of writing radio plays.  Frost is his usual rumpled, unorthodox, coarse, sarcastic, insolent self, who countermands his bosses’ orders, cuts corners, fiddles his expenses and procedures, makes plenty of mistakes and errors of judgement, and relentlessly pursues justice.  The result is a thoroughly enjoyable read, full of black humour, that makes a nice finale to what was an unfinished series.  Wingfield died shortly before publication and the series has been continued by James Henry (pseudonym for James Gurbutt and Henry Sutton), who have written three prequels.  I might yet give those a go.  I certainly anticipate going back and reading this excellent series again at some point.


Rick Robinson said...

Both my wife and my sister-in-law have read the series and recommended it very highly, but I haven't gotten to it yet. It's that same old problem of more books than time. Quite a nice review and a very top score. I really must put the first book on the TBR short list.

Icewineanne said...

I have this one - didn'tknow that it's the last of the series. Will hunt out the 1st one so i can begin at the beginning. Thanks foe featuring this series Rob!

Rob Kitchin said...

Yes, I think worth starting with the first one and working through the series though I think you can read in any order.