I received this book from the publisher Black Thorn for free in return for an honest review.
You may have noticed that I took part in the blog tour for this book a couple of weeks ago (which you can see here) with a guest post by the author, David Hewson. At the time I didn’t have the time to read the book due to moving house but I’m pleased to say that I have now manged to sit down a read it.
It follows a team of police detectives from Rome as they travel to Calabria to make a deal with a mob boss. He gets immunity and they get all of the other crime leaders, sounds simple, right? Wrong. As Nic Costa, the detective going under cover, arrives the mascarade begins as he is separated from his partner and taken to a remote part of the region to begin his induction. While Nic is away becoming one with the criminals, his comrades are waiting for news on when they can begin their part of the deal and begin organising the take down. But it is not as simple as that.
All the while Nic is playing his part and his comrades are playing theirs, Nic is being sucked deeper into the deceit while his colleagues are all too aware that they are not the ones in control. When one of their one is taken as a hostage as assurance for their compliance, they realise how far away from home they really are.
For such a small book it is incredibly well written. Hewson’s descriptive skills are amazing as he describes the vast and empty landscape of the Calabria, making it a character of its own. He gets the balance right between the many characters and the ending came as a shock to me. Looking back it should have been obvious; Hewson holds his cards out for the audience to see while slowly crafting to deck to suit his own needs. A classic misdirection right played out in front of you.
While I enjoyed the book, I didn’t gel with his writing style as much as I hoped I would and this detracted from the book for me. The crime books I read tend to be more fast-paced and action-packed while Hewson takes a leisurely stroll, carefully manipulating the playing field. My thoughts on this shouldn’t stop you from reading this book though, quite the opposite in fact.
While I didn’t gel with his writing style the book was easy to read and flowed, albeit slowly for me, but one of the recurring points in the book is time. Everything seems to stop in Calabria and Hewson’s writing compliments this and only speeds up when the action kicks in towards the book’s conclusion.
The Savage Shore is the tenth Nic Costa book and despite not having read any of the others it was easy to pick up and get stuck into. While Hewson does refer to previous events, the reader does not need to know about them in depth, enough information is provided to help with the character development and motive.
If you are looking for a detective book that is sure to leave you wondering how you missed the obvious, this is the book for you. Just remember, nothing is as it seems.