The Promised Land by Barry Maitland, Review: Skilfully crafted crime
The Promised Land is the 13th title in Barry Maitland’s bestselling Brock and Kolla Series.
The Promised Land Synopsis
Brock and Kolla return in an enthralling new mystery from a master of the genre.
Newly promoted Detective Chief Inspector Kathy Kolla investigates a series of brutal murders on Hampstead Heath. Under intense pressure to find answers, she arrests the unlikely figure of John Pettigrew, a failing London publisher who lives alone on the edge of the Heath.
Pettigrew’s lawyer calls on recently retired David Brock for advice, and soon, unable to resist the pull of investigation, the old colleagues, Brock and Kolla, are at loggerheads.
At the heart of the gripping mystery of the Hampstead murders lies a manuscript of an unknown novel by one of the greatest literary figures of the twentieth century. Brock believes that its story will unlock the puzzle, but how?
(Allen & Unwin, January 2019)
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime-Detective
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What a fantastic way to start my year of reading! Barry Maitland is one of several prolific authors whose work I’ve been meaning to read for an embarrassingly long time. I’d say to myself, “I’ll go back and start the series from the beginning” because I did not want to miss out on anything. But I have now realised this strategy just does not work for me, swamped as I am with new releases. So when the opportunity arose to read his new book, #13 in the Brock and Kolla Series, I dived in.
It was not long before I could not put this book down. The Promised Land has practically everything I could want in a quality page-turner.
Maitland’s lead characters span generations but share a mix of wisdom, conviction and emotional maturity that I found instantly appealing. They are world-wise without being world-weary, their doubts and anxieties contextually appropriate and their dialogue and interactions feel authentic.
Skilfully crafted crime
The Promised Land‘s skilfully crafted crime mysteries are layered and interwoven, the misdirects nuanced and the literary subplot (and subtext) an added treat for avid readers.
“Brock taught me that sometimes we pursue a wrong idea because we simply can’t bear to dump all we’ve invested in it. He said a good detective knows when it has to be done.”
Of particular note, is the discerning (efficient yet highly effective) manner in which Maitland develops his secondary characters. Unlike many crime novels, one really gets a sense of these characters as having real lives and competing commitments outside of the criminal investigation that propels them into Brock and Kolla’s orbit.
Despite Brock now officially being retired, there are no signs of Barry Maitland’s first-class Brock & Kolla crime series slowing down anytime soon. I arrived woefully late to this party but nevertheless enjoyed Book 13 The Promised Land immensely. I now eagerly await the next instalment.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5
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This review counts towards my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2019 and the Cloak & Dagger Reading Challenge.
About the Author, Barry Maitland
Barry Maitland was born in Scotland and brought up in London. After studying architecture at Cambridge, he practised and taught in the UK before moving to Australia where he was Professor of Architecture at the University of Newcastle. He has since retired from the university to pursue his writing. Maitland’s first mystery The Marx Sisters was a nominee for the John Creasey Award for Best First Novel and The Malcontenta won the Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Fiction. Bright Air, Maitland’s first crime novel set in Australia, was published in 2008. Check out Barry’s website.
* Receiving The Promised Land from the publisher for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions.