Adventure In Reading - Peter Lovesey - Cop To Corpse
The Author And This Book
Peter Lovesey became a full time writer in 1975. He lived, was educated, and worked as an educator in England. At about 40 years of age he left the field of education to become a full time writer. He has published under the pen name Peter Lear and has published in genre other than detective fiction. He has many, many books to his credit.
The Peter Diamond series - of which this book is one - is probably his most prolific series. This book is number 12 in the series. Doing a search on Amazon and Half.com produce many hundreds of hits for this author's books.
This book was published in 2012. At a testament to his popularity, It appears to have been published almost simultaneously in the United Kingdom and the United States. There are about 350 pages.
The story begins with the third shooting in a series of policemen being killed. The murder is done by a sniper at an indeterminate range and from an unclear position. Immediate action by the police points towards a very quick resolution of the case but problem begin arising.
Detective superintendent Peter Diamond shows up begins to take charge of the investigation. Control is wrested from him by Jack Gull of the Serial Crimes Unit. The SCI is on site because this is the third killing of a policeman by a sniper. A lot of conflict is present between Diamond and Gull but generally Diamond just ignores the SCI and follows his own path.
A short way into the mystery (Chapter 7) a seemingly unrelated group of thee women suddenly show up in the book. They are present in an internet blog posting and are a recurrent happening. During most of the book, there is no apparent reason for their existence.
False starts hinder Diamond's investigation and he wanders down various paths of investigation, striving mightily to discover the killer.
Peter Diamond heads a staff of plain clothes investigators in Bath in England. He is called out during the night to a killing of a fellow police officer. It is the third killing of an officer in the area although not in the Bath bailiwick. Before Diamond arrives the on duty senior officer begins to track the shooter and finds the rifle used. But in trying to capture the sniper the officer is attacked and seriously injured while the sniper absconds with the weapon.
Diamond begins to suspect that the qualifications that have been exhibited by the sniper are ones that would be present in a police officer. He directs his staff to obtain records that would enable the group to clarify whether a policeman is involved. His staff rebels because they do not want to investigate a fellow officer for so heinous a crime. Diamond proceeds with the internal investigation and it colors his thinking throughout most of the book.
The group of three women that have been introduced through an internet blog continue in a manner seemingly unrelated to the investigation.
Diamond is run over by a motorcycle injuring him and sending him to the hospital. He ignores the advice of doctors prior to the completion of the examination and although hobbling around on crutches and then a cane, he resumes his police activities. His staff begins to develop leads that look as if they may bear fruit.
Part of the blog involving the three women reveal something to the reader that points the reader to a solution. Diamond and most of his team are unaware of the blog but one member of the team has caught wind of it. She refers it to Diamond.
Almost accidentally Diamond captures a man and it is determined that the gun owned by the man was used in two of the killings and that the prisoner's motorcycle was probally the one used to injure Diamond. Ballistics confirm the arrest in relation to two of the murders but cannot tie the individual to the third.
Sidetracked slightly in his drive to complete the investigation, Diamond and staff finally solve the riddle of the blog activity and find the persons responsible for the third killing.
The book is convoluted and it seems like most of the time the police run around in circles as opposed to driving a reasonably straight line to a solution. I probably will try to track down at least one more Peter Lovesey novel to see what it's like but overall I didn't think a lot of this one.
I'd rate it about a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10.