CTG Reviews: City of Dreadful Night by Peter Guttridge

cover image

cover image

What the blurb says: “July 1934. A woman’s torso is found in a trunk at Brighton railway station’s left luggage office. Her legs and feet are found in a suitcase at King’s Cross. Her head is never found, her identity never established, her killer never caught. But someone is keeping a diary. July 2009. A massacre in Milldean, Brighton’s notorious no-go area. An armed police operation gone badly wrong. As the rioting begins, highflying Chief Constable Robert Watts makes a decision that will cost him his career. Meanwhile, with the aid of newly discovered police files, ambitious young radio journalist Kate Simpson hopes to solve the notorious Brighton Trunk Murder of 1934, and enlists the help of ex-Chief Constable Robert Watts. But it’s only a matter of time before past and present collide …”

I love a good puzzle, and that’s exactly what this first book in Peter Guttridge’s Brighton series gives you. Twice over.

The mysterious cold case of the Brighton Trunk Murderer (an actual case) is twistingly intertwined with the investigation of the modern day Milldean shooting case. And both are giving Robert Watts a headache.

An excellent investigator, Watts loses his job as Chief Constable in the political fallout from an armed police raid gone bad. With his marriage falling apart, and the job he lived for gone, he’s at a loss of what to do. So when Kate Simpson, a young radio journalist and the daughter of an old friend, asks him for his help he agrees.

But Kate’s not the only one seeking his help. When Sarah Gilchrist, a member of the ill-fated armed operation, returns to work she can’t let the unanswered questions about what really happened go unanswered any longer. As she digs deeper it seems that the bungled raid wasn’t quite the accident it first appeared. That’s when she decides to call on Watts.

As Watts gets drawn into both cases he discovers links to people he knows and implications that have affected him, and his career, without his knowledge. But someone isn’t happy that their secrets are being uncovered, and as more police officers from the raid turn up dead, and threats to Watts, Kate, Sarah and those helping them are made, it seems both the cases are anything but cold.

This isn’t your average police procedural. The quirky narrative style, fresh characters and witty observations kept me turning the pages, keen to find out where Watts, Kate and Sarah’s rather unusual and distinctly unofficial investigations would lead them.

An intriguing journey through the darker side of Brighton, and a great introduction to a new series – I’ve already bought the next book ‘The Last King of Brighton’.

Recommended.

 

[With thanks to Peter Guttridge for my copy of the book]

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