This week’s book review is Good Friday by the talented Lynda La Plante. This is a brand new release. It is the third novel in the Jane Tennison series, the prequel to the Prime Suspect series.
March 1974. The height of The Troubles. An IRA bombing campaign strikes terror across Britain. Nowhere and no one is safe!
During 1974 and 1975, the IRA subjected London to a terrifying bombing campaign. In one day alone, they planted seven bombs at locations across Central London. Some were defused, some were not.
Jane is a fully fledged Detective. On the way to court one morning, Jane passes through Covent Garden Underground station and is caught up in a bomb blast that leaves several people dead, and many more horribly injured. Jane is a key witness, but is adamant that she can’t identify the bomber. When a photograph appears in the newspapers, showing Jane assisting the injured at the scene, it puts her and her family at risk from IRA retaliation.
Good Friday is the eagerly awaited date of the annual formal CID dinner, due to take place at St.Ermin’s Hotel. Hundreds of Detectives and their wives will be there. It’s the perfect target.
As Jane arrives for the evening, she realises that she recognises the parking attendant as the bomber from Covent Garden. Can see convince her senior officers in time, or will another bomb destroy London’s entire Detective Force.
Lynda La Plante opened my eyes to the world of crime fiction. I think I was maybe 14/15 years old. I was always a reader, but when I opened that first page of Above Suspicion by Lynda something changed! I was completely engrossed in a completely different world! It gave me complete relief from my own reality when I needed it the most. Since that day, I haven’t looked back. I could not live without my books. I have to thank Lynda for bringing out that avid reader that was hiding away. Since then, I have read her complete collection of series and have broadened my collection of other crime fiction authors, like James Patterson, Tess Gerritsen, Richard Castle and many more.
If you haven’t read any of the Tennison books or come across the Prime Suspect character Jane Tennison, let me give to a bit of background information into the character and the previous two books in the series.
Jane Tennison is 22 years old and straight out of the police training academy. She is athletic, blonde and attractive, but she is unaware of her good looks. She is very naïve and not at all street wise. She is strong-minded and intelligent, and has been brought up in a very secure, happy, family environment. However, nothing could have prepared her parents for the moment Jane announced that she had applied to join the Metropolitan Police and had been accepted. Jane has always shown signs of being extremely independent, but she will be both physically and mentally tested to the limit during her first probationary posting in one of London’s toughest areas.
Tennison – 1973 (2016)
East London, 1973. Murder. Discrimination. A city fuelled by crime and corruption…….
While the notorious Kray twins are seeing out their 30 year prison sentence, a terrifying undercurrent of violent crime lies in their wake.
Fresh out of the academy, 22-year-old WPC Jane Tennison is thrown in at the deep end of a male dominated, chauvinistic world. It’s a rough and tough environment, and that’s just at the station.
Jane is drawn into the dark world of murder and the devastating effects that violent crime has on a victim’s family. Investigating the tragic killing of a young woman, her emotions and commitment will be tested to the core.
Hidden Killers – Tennison 2 (2016)
Hidden killers sees Jane acting as a “decoy” prostitute, with the hope of capturing a suspect wanted for numerous sexual assaults. The attacker is drawn in and put under arrest.
Commended for her bravery in the case, Jane is given CID status and moves from Hackney to Bow Street Station as Detective. Her first call out is to a non-suspicious death. The victim is a young mother, drowned tragically in the bath, leaving a bereft and doting husband and a young child.
The two storylines interweave as Jane begins to doubt the evidence against her assailant in East London, and becomes certain that the young woman in the bath did not drown in tragic circumstances. Two entirely different cases but one common thread – the lingering doubt in Jane’s mind around the evidence and around her colleagues.
I loved this book, it’s crime fiction at it’s best, it references to the IRA and The Troubles. Considering I am from Northern Ireland, my Grandparents, and Parents lived through The Troubles, my Sister and I were born into still a very Army dominated Northern Ireland, we grew up hearing old IRA stories, so this book was right up my street. I just find Irish history fascinating. I loved the accurate Irish incorporation. The detail that Lynda has used just made my hairs stand on end.
In this book we see Jane really getting her independence. She has always been an independent character, but there was always that little bit of dependence, when she lived with her parents as well as when she lived in the section house. Here we see Jane take the full step and buys her own flat and her own car. She was really making something out of herself. Proving to her parents that she didn’t need a husband to keep her or to make her happy. She loves what she does and does not need to prove herself to her family. I really admire Jane’s character, in the words of Destiney’s Child “She’s an independent woman.”
Although she doesn’t need to prove herself to her family, her colleagues are a different story. She is probably one of the first females to make Detective rank in a very male dominated environment. Even though she is a WDC, many of her colleagues and senior officers do not treat her with the respect that her rank and hard work are entitled to. We see her having to constantly compete with the male officers and fight for her thoughts and opinions to be heard.
As much as Jane has to fight to be taken seriously. She really lets her emotions get the better of her, which almost always causes her to do something without thinking, and in some cases, could really jeopardises her career. I think that makes Jane’s character really relatable to readers. She isn’t this perfect woman taking control in a hugely male dominated work force. She has her flaws like all of us and sometimes leads wither heart rather than her head. The only way I can describe her is that she is “perfectly imperfect.”
I feel particularly in Tennison and Good Friday, we see Jane fall for someone she shouldn’t. She seems to get a lot of male attention, but somehow, the person she ends up falling for breaks her heart. In the first book, she fell for her DCI, Len Bradfield, who in my opinion really loved Jane, and wasn’t just using her for sex. To be honest, I think we all kinda fell for Len Bradfield, how could you not. Sadly, we never seen their relationship get a chance, as Len was tragically killed in a bank explosion along with Jane’s best friend Kath Morgan.
In this book, we see her begin to fall for the ladies man, bad boy, DS Alan Dexter. However, he is just using her to blow off steam after a hard day at the office. She seems to have no luck when it comes to love. Although, I believe Jane will never get over Len Bradfield. I think he will always stay in her heart, no matter what relationships she is in, as I believe she truly loved him.
As you can probably guess, I loved this book. If there was a stronger word I would use it. I love anything Lynda writes. She will be the author that I will reread for many years to come. Her words to me are exceptional, she can transport you to a completely different reality from start to finish. You can’t put it down. I will always be grateful to Lynda La Plante’s novels for opening my mind and heart to all these brilliant, relatable characters.
The sad part is that I have to wait for Tennison’s fourth novel. It will probably be a long wait, but I have no doubt that is will be well and truly worth it!!