British author James’s entertaining 30th novel featuring Asst. Chief Constable Desmond Iles and Det. Chief Supt. Colin Harpur picks up where 2012’s Undercover left off as the oddly paired cops once again probe corruption in another jurisdiction’s police force. Maud Logan Clatworthy (aka Home Office Maud) is dissatisfied with the conviction of Det. Insp. Courtenay Jaminel for the murder of Det. Sgt. Tom Mallen, and she wants to find those behind the killing. Iles’s anger over Harpur’s earlier affair with his wife, always near the surface, erupts into violence and threatens to disrupt the reactivated investigation. Nonetheless, the two manage to uncover an important witness and pry loose additional clues by re-interviewing Mallen’s wife; the couple who discovered the body; and Leo P. Young, whose pharmaceuticals firm Mallen infiltrated in an undercover operation. The lead characters repeat their usual amusing antics in familiar settings, but of course that’s a major part of the series’ appeal. Agent: Euan Thorneycroft, A.M. Heath (U.K.). (July)
"The unique and skillful way in which James used words and his clever, diabolical plots are what make for another outstanding entry in this popular, highly original series"
Booklist Starred Reivew of Play Dead
“The lead characters repeat their usual amusing antics in familiar settings, but of course that’s a major part of the series’ appeal”
Publishers Weekly on Play Dead
“Rayne's third Nell West ghost story perfects the craft of deftly chosen details, simmering suspense and chilling surprises, all woven into a quiet, elegant narrative.”
Kirkus Reviews on Play Dead
"The unique and skillful way in which James uses words and his clever, diabolical plots are what make for another outstanding entry in this popular, highly original series"
Harpur and Iles reopen a closed case. When undercover cop Tom Mallen was ambushed and killed while infiltrating Leo Young's nefarious businesses, Assistant Chief Constable Desmond Iles and Detective Chief Superintendent Colin Harpur were sent to Larkspur to sort matters out. They managed to nab another cop for the deed (Undercover, 2012, etc.), but now the Home Office wants matters revisited to find out who maneuvered him. Iles, still seething over Harpur's affair with his wife, insists that the pair reconnoiter Mallen's death scene, a derelict building complex, with Harpur playing dead in the rubble while he, alas, has an emotional breakdown over that tryst. Harpur picks up a discarded ballpoint, stabs him in the cheek with the pen, and the two run off. Word of this episode gets out to a reporter, who unwisely asks questions of the wrong people and is himself stabbed to death. Meanwhile, an eyewitness to the Iles/Harpur situation surfaces. He's also been privy to a meeting at the site between Mallen's widow and Young's wife. When Iles goes off on another rage that the Home Office hears about, it's up to Harpur to smooth things over. Mrs. Young, who's never before questioned her husband's livelihood, now tries to allay her suspicions with a visit to the wife of Mallen's killer that effectively closes the case with a dying message clue. In their 30th outing, Harpur and Iles are still at odds, still droll and still among the best the British police procedural has to offer.