West Country Murder by Derek Thompson

Title: West Country Murder (Detective Craig Wild Mystery #2)

Author: Derek Thompson

Published on: 26 Jan 2022

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Police Procedural

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

At first, PC Marnie Olsen believes the man is asleep in his car. But the bluish tinge on his lips say otherwise…

PC Marnie Olsen and DS Craig Wild are attending a local literary festival. Renowned author Juliette Kimani is giving a talk and Craig is a fan. Like any other fan, Craig stands in the line for an autographed copy of the author’s latest novel when he receives a call from Marnie. It’s police business.

A man is found dead in a car in the parking lot. Craig asks Juliette if she knew the victim and she denies. But how was Craig to know she lied? Juliette’s teenage daughter Isabella has just recovered from cancer. The victim – Lee Rickard – was a stem cell donor. When Olsen and Wild go in search of clues, they learn of the victim’s real identity; he was involved with dangerous people… the ones who would threaten coppers too if necessary…

West Country Murder is the second book in Derek Thompson’s Detective Craig Wild Mystery series. I read the first book of this series Long Shadows recently and I had a few niggles regarding the main character – Craig Wild. However, things are looking a little better for Wild in this book.

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The story begins with someone locking a man in the car. Olsen and Wild are attending a literary festival and there is a long queue for Juliette’s book signing event. Just when it is Wild’s turn to get the book signed, he receives a call from Olsen about a police matter. When Wild arrives at the parking lot and takes a look at the man in the car, it is pretty evident the man is dead.

On learning the identity of the victim, Olsen and Wild reach the church where the victim was involved in. They soon learn the victim was living under a protection system. He was formerly a drug dealer and had ties with the bad guys. He ratted out on his bosses in exchange for a new life and a new identity. Looks like that did not work out well for him.

Wild’s boss DI Marsh is now friendly with him. Wild is also adjusting well to his new job location – he’s friends with Olsen and the Galloways now. The rest of his teammates are not harsh on him either. When Wild crosses the line once or twice, his boss is ready to look the other way and even vouch for him. Well, that’s quite a change, given that things were looking really bad when Wild first arrived at Mayberry.

The series plot is turning out to be murkier and mysterious than I thought. I am also impressed with the character development of Olsen, Wild, Galloways and Marsh. There’s also a blast from the past – a side story related to Wild’s ex.

I had trouble remembering the names of the characters – there were too many people with similar sounding names. Also, the dialogs were a little hard to follow at times. Having said that, the mystery behind the murder(s) kept me guessing till the end.

If you like British police procedural, you might want to give Derek Thompson’s West Country Murder a try.


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