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Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham

Talking to the Dead

by Harry Bingham

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Fiona Griffiths is a DC in Cardiff, working on two cases; one embezzlement by a former police officer and the other the deaths of a woman and her daughter in a squat. The novel started off promisingly and I liked Fiona's voice, but as we learnt more and more about her mental health, I became almost uneasy. I suppose the author did a good job of demonstrating how fragile her mental health was, but it made for a stressful read. At the very end, when the revelation of Fiona's diagnosis during the missing two years came, it made me wonder about the exact range of symptoms she seemed to have. Were they all attributable to her diagnosis/PTSD? I also wondered how she had managed to reach her mid-twenties without ever having seen her birth certificate...

I had initially also thought this was going to be a fairly straight police procedural with a quirky heroine (the holy grail of crime fiction for me!) but it all got a bit much: Fiona's mentor Lev of the secret martial arts skills, Fiona's query criminal father who arranged for her to acquire a gun and ammunition, Fiona goes it alone and takes down all the armed baddies etc etc.

I'm not sure I'll read any more, but I can see that other people might really enjoy this series. ( )
  pgchuis | Aug 20, 2017 |
Book Description:
For rookie detective constable Fiona Griffiths, her first major investigation promises to be a tough initiation into Cardiff's dark underbelly. A young woman and her six-year-old daughter have been found brutally murdered in a squalid flat, the single clue a platinum credit card belonging to a millionaire businessman who died in a plane crash six months before. It might look like just another case of a low-rent prostitute, but Fiona is convinced that the cruel deaths of this mother and daughter are part of a deeper, darker mystery.

Fiona is smart and observant but doesn’t always follow orders, sometimes foolishly. She is known to be a bit odd and does do a few weird things. As she tracks down the people involved in the murder, there are hints of an illness she had as teenager. This is also a mystery until the end where it’s revealed and explains her earlier oddness. This was a decent story and the ending did a good job explaining her personal illness. ( )
  gaylebutz | May 14, 2017 |
I nearly gave up on this book on Page 1 because it's written in the present tense. I hate the present tense for books.

Still, I'm glad I persevered with this one.

Fiona Griffiths is a very junior detective constable in Cardiff; she's the sort of person you like to have on your team as long as she's managed by somebody else: bright, efficient, but with a bit of a blind spot when it comes to following orders. As is de rigueur with detectives nowadays, Fiona has a Dark Secret In Her Past. I do wonder whether, in real life, she would have got into the police force at all, or once in, managed to stay that way but, hey, whatever.

As a protagonist, Fiona works well if you like your detectives slightly strange, but in a weird-loner way, not a krazy, kooky, klutzy way. I can see that she might not be everybody's cup of tea, but I took to her immediately.

The plot itself moved along with multiple strands, some of which bore fruit and some of which did not. Various characters are introduced (one particularly I hope will reappear). I don't know how much research Bingham did into police procedure, but there was a believable groundedness about his descriptions - a lot of telephoning, a lot of chasing and paperwork.

I didn't quite believe the end - but Bingham did it so well that I didn't care. I burned through this in a sitting, and went to buy the sequel immediately. Despite my slight misgivings about the realism of certain aspects, this was a five star read. Thoroughly recommended. :-) ( )
  T_K_Elliott | Mar 12, 2017 |
There's no way I can summarize this protagonist and series without making it sound banal, so instead I will say: count me a fan of Fiona Griffiths. The narration in the present tense is a bit weird, but Fiona herself is an interesting protagonist. I loved her impulsive generosity and the dedication she shows to her job, even when she's gallivanting off on a hunch. As for the book itself, one detail that really tickled me was the fact that the cops put all their case notes on a Sharepoint-type project management system called Groove. My office uses just such a system for our documents and the thought of the police using it too tickled my highly nerdy funnybone.

I'd hardly shut the book when I rushed off immediately to request book 2 in the series, so this is a winner. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Mar 10, 2017 |
Terrific book, a little hard to get into at first but I think it's because I read the books out of order, Love Story with Murder, first. I kept trying to fit what I knew about the characters already with what was happening in this story.

This is the story of Fiona Griffiths a young Welsh police officer who's brilliant and clever and quite a bit creepy/scary but in an "I'm so glad she's on our side" sort of way. She's also not so much for following the rules so as the story progresses she manages to irritate her higher-ups who want things to be by the book. Fiona also has some personal issues that she's trying to work through which are aggravated by the case she's working on.

Very much enjoyed this book, especially once I quit trying to match-up what I knew from the first book I read. ( )
  mmoj | Mar 2, 2017 |
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Rookie cop Fiona Griffiths, on the cusp of breaking her first big case, uncovers a dire conspiracy that takes her into a dark underworld that threatens her with her own personal demons.

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