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Wednesday, 24 November 2021

‘One Half Truth’ by Eva Dolan

Published by Raven Books,
13 May 2021.
ISBN: 978-1-4088-8655-7

Jordan Radley, a young student journalist, is shot dead on his way home one night. Is it a random street murder – or something very much more complex? Zigic and Ferreira, protagonists of Eva Dolan’s long-standing police procedural series, take on the case, and soon find themselves involved in something too difficult and messy for comfort, especially when they learn that the young man’s laptop and tablet were stolen the same night.

Jordan had made friends with a group of former engineers, made redundant when their factory was closed down in somewhat shady circumstances. His motives weren’t entirely pure; he told their story in print and opened up a can or two of worms as a result. That provides the detectives with a starting point for their investigation, but it’s soon plain there is more going on than meets the eye.

Dolan clearly knows her characters and their Peterborough location very well indeed. The engineers have all reacted differently to their situation and followed divergent paths despite remaining a close-knit group. The squad room is peopled by detectives of every colour, from the hardened old superintendent who doesn’t want to upset the top brass this close to retirement, to the young enthusiast rookie who sees everything in black and white and doesn’t look beyond the obvious, with plenty of variety between the two. They all have lives outside work, and as a result the main players emerge as rounded personalities.

It becomes plain that the real bad guys are not the main suspects, and the real crimes are far from being the obvious ones. Ferreira in particular, the more volatile of the two, is more concerned with ensuring right is done than in courtroom justice. There are hints throughout the narrative of episodes in her past in which lines were crossed and mistakes covered up to satisfy her own moral compass.

The further they dig, the more layers the case develops, made all the more challenging for the reader by Dolan’s rather dense writing style. It’s not an easy read, certainly not a quick fix for a rainy afternoon, but perhaps that was intentional. There’s certainly more going on here than in the average police procedural, and though culprits are identified, and a kind of rough justice applied, the end result isn’t exactly satisfying for the good guys.

If you like your crime fiction thought-provoking and multi-layered, Eva Dolan’s books may well be just what you’re looking for.
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Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Eva Dolan is an Essex-based copywriter and intermittently successful poker player. Shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Dagger for unpublished authors when she was just a teenager, Long Way Home was her debut novel and the start of a major new crime series.

Lynne Patrick  has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives in Oxfordshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

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