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A Book of Scars by William Shaw
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A Book of Scars

by William Shaw

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“Book of Scars” is William Shaw’s third in the Breen and Tozer series. As of October, 2018, there are four books in the series. The first three are available on Kindle but with different titles than the original British published ones. Just to complicate things a tad more, Shaw is concurrently writing a second Brit police procedural series centered on DS Alexandra Cupidi. Cupidi is a major character in the book, “The Birdwatcher” but for some reason this is listed as a stand-alone and not the first in the series. Why do I go through all this seeming nonsense? These are excellent novels. Read one and you’ll want to read more. There’s a little work trying to figure out titles, to avoid buying duplicates, to avoid buying a paperback when a preferred Kindle version is available (as I did!). Go to fantasticfiction.com and search for William Shaw; they do a great job of helping readers keep all this straight.

I particularly enjoy the Breen & Tozer series. Most of the settings are London in the 1960s – with many references to the charming and unforgettable life experiences of the day – Beatlemania, red London phone boxes, old cabs, Nam headlines, protests. And some very interesting cases and characters. Tozer is one of the very first female homicide officers, and not exactly embraced by her colleagues, even her partner Breen. But on rare occasion, he breaks down just a wee bit and lets her drive. But only the car, certainly not the investigation.

Tozer has suffered a crushing tragedy in her family life four years ago – her sister was tortured and brutally murdered on the family farm. Circumstances bring the Breen and Tozer together on the farm in “Book of Scars”, and Tozer manipulates Breen into reviewing some old case files of the local police….

While I strongly recommend this book, I also suggest that you start this series at the beginning with book #1, probably my favorite, but they are all good. Just this once I’ll help you shop, for book #1. The original title was available as “A Song from Dead Lips”; it’s available from Amazon only as a paperback for $14.73 + 3.99 shipping, no prime. OR you can get the same book but with the title “She’s Leaving Home” (think about that title) as a paperback $14.65 (prime) or Kindle version $9.99. Enjoy! ( )
  maneekuhi | Sep 30, 2018 |
I have always enjoyed this trilogy. Reading this final installment was definitely bittersweet for me and maybe that is why I read this so slowly.

Breen and Helen are back and this time they are investigating the murder of Helen's sister that took place years ago. This investigation is personal and it just might get Breen in more danger than he's ever been (which is saying a lot considering his history). Breen starts investigating Alexandra's murder while recuperating on the Tozer family farm (well Helen really leads him to do it). While I did enjoy the investigation, and getting to read about Breen going undercover as a hippie, I felt that it really wasn't all that hard to figure out who the murderer was after a little while. Why that person murdered Alexandra remained a mystery for quite a while to me.

What I loved about this book was the relationship between Breen and Helen. Something big happens between them and I loved it. Breen clearly loves Helen but Helen still wants to remain independent. I loved her stubbornness but ultimately loved where they ended up at the end. I am sad that this is the last I'll read of Breen and Helen.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the galley. ( )
  dpappas | Feb 18, 2016 |
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UK/US titles are different A Book of Scars aka A Song For the Brokenhearted
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316246913, Hardcover)

The earthshaking decade of the 1960s comes to a sweeping and dangerous close, as William Shaw's detective duo battle the most powerful members of London society.

After being wounded in the line of duty, Detective Sergeant Breen recuperates on the family farm of his former partner, Helen Tozer. To fill the long and empty hours, he reviews the open case file for a murder that has haunted Helen for years: that of her younger sister. Breen discovers that the teenage victim had been having a secret affair with James Fletchet, the son of an affluent local landowner, celebrated for his service in Kenya during the Mau Mau Uprising.

Breen and Tozer return to London's Criminal Investigation Division, where their questions about Fletchet's past are met with resistance and suspicion. The deeper they probe, the more people they implicate in their investigation. New Scotland Yard doesn't look kindly upon breaking rank, and it's only a matter of time before Breen and Tozer make themselves a target.

Shaw's stirring, heartfelt and diabolically plotted mystery series is everything a reader looks for: enveloping, invigorating, and wonderfully entertaining.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 04 Feb 2016 12:19:11 -0500)

The earthshaking year of 1968 comes to a sweeping and dangerous close as Detectives Breen and Tozer battle the most powerful members of London society in their probe into a case going back years--the murder of Tozer's younger sister.

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