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Thursday 9 August 2018

‘Committed to Revenge’ by Barbara Fagan Speake

Published by Country Books,
15 May 2018.
ISBN 978-1-910489-49-9 (PB)

Barbara’s detective stories about Annie Macpherson and her colleagues on the Westford Police in Connecticut continue to absorb the reader.  This is the sixth in the series and it is riveting stuff.

Annie is a Scottish Detective seconded to the American force and she is thoroughly embedded in the team.   Opportunities to contrast and compare British and US methods of detection are used well and naturally in the course of events.   Annie has become engaged to a fellow member of the detective team and is happy in the USA though this is dependent on her family in the UK remaining safe and healthy.  As part of her integration into the US police she must take a local driving test and hone her police driving skills.  That is easy, but she should also take firearms training and then carry a gun as a matter of course - this is harder to come to terms with.

In this book the situation is that of a rogue group that was originally set up to counsel survivors of abuse which has become focussed on the aim of murdering the alleged abusers.   The pact of this spin off group is to murder someone on behalf of another member of the group; the threat is that anyone who fails to play his or her part will also be murdered.  The leader has handpicked his people and is obsessed with his plans.   Naturally the police find it hard to investigate these apparently random deaths where anyone with a possible motive always has a watertight alibi. 

The build-up of murders and the routine of investigations is beautifully shown with logical inferences and solid forensic evidence leading to eventual elucidation. Some dangers have to be faced en route.  As always, the psychological side of things is well explained since the author is an experienced psychologist; the effectiveness of this can be seen as our sympathies swing - sometimes in support of the perpetrators even though they have such horrendous aims.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
As I said earlier there are 5 previous adventures of Annie.   Barbara has also written a stand alone crime story and a book of short stories and flash fiction.

Barbara Fagan Speake was born and brought up in Connecticut. She has written 3 crime novels so far.  The first, Secrets Only Sleep, is a standalone mystery.  The second is this book and the third, Programmed to Kill, develops Annie’s adventures in the USA further

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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