I hadn't read a British mystery in a while, and John Barlow's
HOPE ROAD was a good choice to change that. It's a thriller with a little bit of police procedural thrown in, as protagonist John Ray, the son of a notorious British gangster, attempts to go straight with his business of selling second-hand luxury cars. John even has a girlfriend on the police force, Detective Constable Denise Danson. So he has plenty of motivation for getting to the bottom of things when one of the cars from his showroom goes missing and then turns up with the corpse of a young woman in its trunk. Not only that, but John's friend and top salesman, also missing, is considered by the police as the leading suspect in the woman's murder.
Barlow throws in plenty of twists before everything is untangled, since of course nothing in the case is exactly what it seems to be, and he spins the yarn in fast-paced, very readable prose. I'm not a big fan of books written in the present tense, but Barlow makes that technique work here. He also does a good job with the setting, the English city of
, and made me feel like I'd been there. (Which I haven't, of course. I don't even go as far as Leeds unless I have to.) Dallas