Monday, 26 March 2018

DEAD NORTH by Joel Hames @joel_hames

4.5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: I've read and enjoyed most of Joel Hames's books, so downloaded this as soon as it was published.

Genre: Crime thriller, police procedural, murder

Sam Williams, mishap-prone lawyer and nancy Southerner, has been asked by Mancunian DI Roarkes to assist in the information gathering necessary to prosecute one Thomas Carson for shooting dead two police officers, up in the roughy-toughy, dark and dismal North West.  He leaves behind an unhappy girlfriend who is paying all the bills, largely due to Sam's inconsistent law career.  

Up in Manchester, Sam finds communication blockades whichever way he turns, dank and greasy hotels and pubs, food that is not much better, sexy designer-lawyer Serena who is also on the Carson case, an undercurrent of extreme danger/possible criminal gang intervention, and a not inconsiderable amount of resistance in the form of physical violence.

This is a most engagingly written book that I enjoyed, very much in places, though I didn't love it quite as much as The Art of Staying Dead and Victims, but that's just because it's more of a straight crime-solving-police-procedural type plot, which is not really my bag ~ my liking it slightly less is personal taste, not a reflection of the book's quality.  Indeed, that crime-solving-police-procedurals usually bore me witless but this didn't, is an indication of how good it is.

The story is action-packed with never a dull moment but a good balance of inner dialogue versus action, the plot is intricately worked out, the characters are clearly defined, and it carries with it Mr Hamer's usual wit and realistic dialogue.  Although part of the Sam Williams series, it's a stand alone, and any references made to other books/Sam's past are not at all confusing; the back story is woven in very well.

4* from me (ie, I liked it), with an extra half star in the interests of objective reviewing, because I believe it to be a jolly good example of its type.  I'd recommend it to any avid readers of well-written, well-plotted crime thrillers; you won't be disappointed.  Unless you're a particularly proud Mancunian, maybe 😉.


  1. Hmmm, I am a fan of a police procedural if done right. Maybe I'll try this one out in a few :)

    1. I think you would like this, Lilyn - Sam's a great hero, and it's kind of 'street' and well-observed!