Review: Dead Time by Tony Parsons

Thursday 19 February 2015
Title: Dead Time (DC Max Wolfe, #1.5)
Author: Tony Parsons
Publisher: Century
Publication Date: 19th February 2015
Source: NetGalley Review Copy
Pages: 71
Rating: 3/5
Purchase: Amazon
One am, Boxing Day. Snow falls, the city sleeps.

Not DC Max Wolfe. He is looking out of his loft apartment at the deserted streets below.

A van has just drawn up. Two men get out. Dressed in black and wearing ski-masks, they are dragging something.

It’s a man. Half-naked. Half-dead. But still alive.

Not for much longer.

Soon Max Wolfe is hunting a gang of killers who decapitate their victims.

And this time it’s personal …

I read and reviewed Tony Parsons' first crime novel, The Murder Bag shortly after starting the blog. I enjoyed it, but know it was very much a Marmite book amongst my fellow bloggers, not helped by Parsons comments in this interview. I am still very much sucked in by a good cover and blurb, and love a short story so couldn't resist requesting this one on NetGalley and it took me not all that long to read. Short stories in the Kindle age tend to be nothing more than glorified adverts for an author's work, but this one actually works as short stories are meant to (and actually spoils The Murder Bag for those that haven't read it).

A chilling (literally on the day I read this, brr) opening makes this book perfect Winter reading, and the setting of the book, on Boxing Day makes it perfect for the crime that occurs in the first chapter of the book when our main character DC Max Wolfe just happens to look out of his window, which overlooks Smithfield meat market to see a gang of ski-masked man arrive with a bloodied body. A human body. Rather than wait for backup, perhaps showing his naivety as a DC, Wolfe decides to confront the men, let's just say that doesn't work out well for him... The man, a known drug dealer (and filthy rich) doesn't survive. The next morning Wolfe is warned that it isn't his investigation, and to get on with his Christmas. Hmm, he ignores that piece of advice. As always with a short story it's hard to talk any further than that, I enjoyed the book but, the biggest problem for me was guessing who was behind the murder of the drug dealer. It couldn't have been more obvious and this was a shame, the book lost all of its suspense and tension in what was otherwise a good read.

Parsons is clearly an author that carries out his research but I felt at times I was reading a school textbook rather than a crime novel when some of his characters went into far too much detail about things, and Wolfe as a narrator went on a bit too. As an example I don't need to know the ins and outs of a mincing machine, I can work out what it does and imagine what it looks like myself, the only thing missing was the make and model. On the other side of things I felt some things were less detailed than I wanted them to be, as with The Murder Bag we once again get to see The Black Museum, but too briefly for my liking. With a short story I guess it's hard to get the balance right. At just 99p I guess there are worse things you could spend your money on. It also includes the obligatory preview of Tony's upcoming book, The Slaughter Man, which I have read and will be reviewing the week of release and the book ends where that book begins, which should ensure readers will be left wanting more.


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