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Intrigue, Passion and Anger - Blind Fury
What appeals to me about the crime books of Lynda La Plante is the realism - characters are not soppy but real, they have their moments when they are upset, negative or resentful.
La Plante demonstrates an excellent insight into police operations – rumour is rife and often embellished and boredom sets in through the tedium of endless sifting through micro data. Politics rears its small and large head throughout her books - politics (small “p”) within the Police Force itself and the constant intervention of big “P” external stakeholders.
There is the overriding obsession with promotion and the very real danger that one mistake can lead to the end of your career. This creates an inherent tension in any criminal investigation that La Plante describes. This tension is ever-present in Blind Fury, providing an underlay that complicates police investigations.
Blind Fury highlights the frustration of dead ends, particularly in cold cases. There is the constant challenge of the pressure on resources and the expectation of results, which are difficult to achieve quickly when the trail has gone cold. The cost of a cold case investigation mounts quickly when investigators have to work weekends and overtime during the week.
Blind Fury brings into sharp relief the ever-present danger of letting your professional police work consume your personal life – as you go to sleep thinking about a victim or a case and wake up with new lines of inquiry in your head or the abiding sense of frustration over a lack of progress. La Plante in Blind Fury enables you, as the reader, to feel the pressure of the daily routine of police crime investigators.
Added to the personal element are office romances and their impacts. In Blind Fury, shifting internal relationships play a major role and add to the intrigue. DCI Anna Travis is struggling with some residual tensions and feelings resulting from an earlier intimate relationship with her boss, CSI Langton. At the same time, she is trying to deal with the ever-abiding anger resulting from the brutal murder of her fiancÃ©.
La Plante is able to maintain your interest throughout the book which is a substantial novel (500 pages). She does this through strong and consistent characterisations and by opening up multiple lines of inquiry which often result in a dead end.
As you read Blind Fury, you feel the frustration of lack of progress and the attendant time pressures. You also experience the sense of relief as more and more pieces of the crime puzzle are discovered and put together.
There is a sense of elation as the whole picture emerges in Blind Fury from a successful investigation and relationships return to a manageable level of mutual respect.
Each of Linda La Plante's crime novels stand alone and can be read without reference to any of her other novels. However, the downside if you read them out of order of publication is that you sometimes know in advance what is going to happen with a relationship. This does not impact on the suspense of the crime investigation under discussion and can even create a sense of anticipation and curiosity that will motivate you to purchase an earlier book to find out what were the catalysts and drama surrounding the developments in the relationship. This is a clever way to encourage you to keep reading her novels, even working your way back through her many award-winning earlier books. I've read her books out of order in the first instance and found that my interest was so piqued that I had to go and read earlier books. Lynda has also introduced the captivating technique of adding a few early chapters from her next book to the end of the book you may be reading ... a strong encouragement to read on once you become hooked on the plot!
These videos introduce Lynda La Plante and her work through interviews and through her discussion of specific books she has written - a great way to get to know the author and her perspectives. They can also give you insights into some of her books you may want to read.
A pictorial introduction to Lynda La Plante's book Wrongful Death, published in 2013.
Lynda La Plante talks about her book, Deadly Intent
Lynda La Plante discusses her book, Silent Scream
Crime author Lynda La Plante talks about her work writing crime novles.
Lynda La Plante talks on the set of Trail & Retribution - a crime TV series created by her.