Last week, I gave you a bit of a run down of the Anna Travis Series by Lynda La Plante. I was in a bit of a “reading funk” and giving you the run down made me want to go back to the start again. They were the first crime novels that I ever purchased and read and the first characters that I became very much attached to.
So, this weeks book is Above Suspicion, the first novel in the Anna Travis Series created by Lynda La Plante, which was published in 2004.
Young Anna Travis has been assigned to her first murder case – a series of killings that has shocked even the most hardened of detectives. They started eight years ago, and now the body count is up to six.
The method of killing is the same, the backgrounds of the girls identical – all drug-users and prostitutes. Then a seventh body is found. The modus operandi is the same – but the victim is a young student with the ‘face of an angel’. The profile of the murderer has changed dramatically.
Determined to earn the respect of her male colleagues, Anna stumbles on a vital piece of information that links one man to the killings, a much-loved actor on the brink of international stardom. His arrest would create a media frenzy. But if he were found innocent, his wouldn’t be the only career over – Anna’s hard-fought reputation would be destroyed once and for all.
This is our introduction to DI Anna Travis. She is fresh onto the murder squad, where this is her first murder case which could make or break her.
Anna Travis is 26 years old and has worked hard to get to the rank that she holds. And she is willing to work a lot harder to get higher up those ranks. She takes after her late Father Jack Travis who was also a high ranking officer in the force. We see that she has a lot of admiration for her Father and wants to make both her parents proud. She looks to her late Father for a lot of the strength that she needs for this case. We can see that she truly puts everything into the work she does. Somethings, she finds herself in a lot of trouble for her independent investigations. Although we know her heart is in a good place, she sometimes puts herself in danger. She acts first before she thinks of the consequences. However, the majority of those investigation have pulled in important information that the team needs.
Travis was called on to DCI James Langton’s murder squad to replace the previous DI that had taken ill. They have been on this case for eight months and haven’t gotten anywhere. Travis joins the team as a new body turns up, which has a connection to their previous murder victims, only this one, deviates slightly from his previous MO.
At the beginning, Anna has a lot of difficulty settling in. We see Anna struggling with the gruesomeness of the murder scene. She struggles with finding her place in the team and interacting with the arrogant workaholic that is her boss, James Langton.
As the investigation begins to head in some sort of direction, they are able to find connections between some of their victims. Anna begins to become a huge part of the investigation when they come up with a possible suspect. Their “barely anything there” case has become a high priority case when their number one suspect is an actor, Alan Daniels.
Alan Daniels quickly becomes infatuated with Anna, making her feel uncomfortable, constantly contacting her at home, asking her out just to get information about the case. It becomes clear that Langton wants to use her as bait, to try to catch Daniels out, however in his haste, Langton becomes concerned about Anna’s life as he believes that if Daniels is their killer, his next target will be Anna Travis. He has to tread very lightly in order not to put Anna’s life in danger.
At the beginning of the case, we see the relationship between Langton and Travis is very rocky. He comes across as a very rude, insensitive, womaniser. He seems to be a man that if he doesn’t get what he want, he will throw a tantrum.
We see throughout the novel that both James and Anna have mixed feelings for each other. Anna begins to find herself wondering about his personal life, asking questions and finds herself feeling annoyed and jealous when she discover a woman in his flat when she goes to give me an update on their case. It becomes quite clear that her feelings are a bit more real than he had first thought, but she knew that James only seen her as an inexperienced young woman. She knew she had to push those feelings aside.
However, we do see that moment that changes everything for James. The moment he begins o have some sort of feelings for Anna. The night that she goes undercover for the murder squad. She gets all dressed up and James can no longer see the little inexperienced young girl that he thought she was, he no longer seen her as a colleague. He sees the beautiful woman that she transformed into, a completely different person than he has worked alongside all those months; and he discovered that he wants her.
From this point on, we see James become very protective over Anna, maybe more so than he would for anybody else on the team. His feeling for her are affecting the way he has started dealing with the case, he seems to care dearly for her and in doing so, he may jeopardise both the case and the relationship that he wishes to have with Anna. Finally toward then end of the case, they realise that they both have strong feelings for each other and decide to do something about it.
I know some parts of that review seem a bit vague, but I am afraid to give anything away. I don’t want to have any spoilers, I want you to discover the truly magnificent story and find that you have fallen for the characters all on your own without too much outside input!