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Black Dog (2000)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0006514324, Paperback)A neat little psychological thriller in the Barbara Vine tradition, debut novelist Stephen Booth's smart, spare suspense story introduces Detective Constable Ben Cooper, an up-and-coming English policeman who fears he'll never be able to fill the shoes of his father, a police sergeant who died a hero's death on the job in Ben's own precinct. Diane Fry, Ben's new partner, is an ambitious woman who's just been transferred to the Edendale force. She's jealous of Ben's familiarity with the locals, who won't tell her anything but treat Ben like a beloved son. The pair is teamed up to investigate the brutal murder of a 15-year-old girl whose parents, like Fry, are outsiders. The old man who finds Laura Vernon's body is an enigmatic, close-mouthed man who obviously knows more than he's telling, but even Ben can't budge Harry Dickinson from his determination to keep the real story of what happened in the dark woods of England's brooding Peak District to himself. Laura's father is anxious to pin the crime on a local boy who may have had sexual designs on her and who's conveniently gone missing. But the search for the killer turns up the dark secrets of the Vernons as well as a number of other suspects who keep Ben and Diane guessing until the last page of this well-written, carefully paced, and deeply atmospheric novel. A strong first showing from a writer worth watching, with a protagonist who'd be good company in a return engagement. --Jane Adams
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 14 Feb 2013 13:42:57 -0500)
When teenager Laura Vernon goes missing in a hot summer in the Peak District, local police mount a full scale search. But it's retired miner Harry Dickinson who finally discovers Laura's body, and he seems determined to obstruct the investigation. Ben Cooper, a young DC has known the villagers all his life, but his instinctive feelings about the case are called into question by the arrival of Diane Fry, a ruthlessly ambitious detective from another division. As the investigation twists and turns, Ben and Diane discover that to understand the present, they must also understand the past; and in a world where no one is entirely innocent, no one can avoid pain.
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