Review: When an Ex-Cop Writes a Crime Novel, We All Have Fun

There is a certain tone writing takes when you can tell the author is having fun. It's when you can feel the excited speed of the author's typing fingers in every skid-marked word. It's just as thrilling for readers as the writer. And they'll have a helluva G-force-bucking ride in Paul Grzegorzek's crime procedural, The Follow.

 

"Fun" isn't how the novel's protagonist, Constable Gareth Bell, would probably describe it. He's part of a drug task force in Brighton (UK), and he's been framed. A planted knife implicates him in an attack. The actual perp, a chronic scum bag called Quentin Davey, walks free. Bell is removed from his post while an internal investigation sorts things out.

 

That's when the fun starts. Bell hits the warpath to clear his name and bring the perp to justice.

 

That's the meat of the plot. It'd be a great read in the first place, but Grzegorzek seasons the story with plenty of extras about police work. He goes in-depth about the political and social climate surrounding police beat work. Crime statistics manipulation, for example, was of particular interest to me.

 

It then comes as no surprise that Grzegorzek comes from a law enforcement background. Whereas the technicalities of police work is where many crime novels struggle, the author has no problem with the nitty gritty. But I doubt he got into writing to educate Yankees like me about UK law enforcement.

 

No, I think he allowed himself to indulge a few skull-cracking fantasies. How else to explain the various detours Bell takes on his journey? He takes out bit criminals here and there with a special bluntness that could only be interpreted as "having fun."

 

By the end of it all, I was a huge fan of Bell. He's a rough-and-tumble guy to be sure. But his gruff demeanor is downright endearing. Like me, you'll be rooting for him the whole way.


Click here to get The Follow from Amazon for the Kindle.

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