Jane Tennyson has worked hard to become the first female detective ever post to the infamous Flying Squad, or ‘the Sweeney’. But the Dirty Dozen is a notorious boys’ club, and Jane’s new colleagues make it clear that they don’t think a woman is up to the dangers of the job.
Dealing with some of London’s most ruthless armed criminals, who think the only good cop is a dead cop, is no joke. Determined to prove she’s as good as the men, Jane discovers from a reliable witness that a gang is going to carry out a massive robbery.
But she doesn’t know who they are, or where or when they will strike….
First of all I have a confession to make I have never read any of Lynda La Plante’s books, although after reading this one I’m not sure why. I have watched many things on the television developed from her novels, certainly Helen Mirren playing Jane Tennison.
I really enjoyed this book, it starts back in 1976, and for me brought back many memories as I was 14 at the time, so can relate to some of the things going on. The types of cars around, lack of technology we have now. Having to use a phone box because mobile phones didn’t exist, and many other things we now take for granted. Jane has just been assigned to the Flying Squad otherwise known as the Sweeney. She thinks this is a promotion, she is now a Detective Sergeant, no other woman has ever been an officer with the Flying Squad, however, it turns out that she is mistaken and all this is is an experiment, which she does find out a little way through the book. In the opening scenes Jane is thrown in at the deep end, before she can even meet Detective Inspector Murphy who she is supposed to report to she is dragged out on a job where a robbery is taking place, the other officers are all armed except for Cam who is OTFD (only the f..ing driver). When they reach where the robbery is taking place Jane is told to keep her head down and stay in the car. Lots of action taking place around her and then the robbers manage to flee. Much to the disgust of the Flying Squad, now they have to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and find out who this group of robbers are. Jane initially gets sent of with Dabs who seems really friendly and accepting of Jane, he is a scene of crime officer hence the nickname, Jane tells him she has worked other crime scenes previously, when she tells him she had worked with Paul Lawrence he is impressed. There is some explaining of what to look for and how to collect it and log it. Which when we think of scenes of crime now everything is much more advanced than back then.
From then on out Jane is up against mysogyny, it’s clear that the majority of the men don’t want her there, calling her treacle, which is apparently cockney for treacle tart – sweetheart, plonks, a name for female officers, it’s clear they feel she shouldn’t be there it’s a mans job. Which means she has to work twice as hard just to prove herself. Detective Inspector Murphy certainly doesn’t want her there, and is determined that this experiment will fail, as he will make sure of it. The only other female that works in the building is Katie who does office work, but she hates Jane on sight, and works with Murphy to do whatever she can to get Jane out although things may not go as she has planned. Jane has one familiar face amongst the men DS Stanley who she has worked with previously.
Jane gets sent out on what Katie and Murphy think is a wild goose chase but in fact she gets some good intelligence from the lead given, so that blows up in the faces of the ones who don’t want her there. It is through sheer doggedness and hard work that Jane tries to prove herself worthy of the job. She puts herself in danger a couple of times, but is so determined to do the work required. In the middle she has to deal with a bit of family drama with her sisters husband and her sister, which just adds to showing a different side to her.
I really enjoyed this book it was the fifth in the series from Tennison’s early years as a police officer but can easily be read as a stand-alone novel but I think I may have to get the previous books now to see how she got where she is so far. The writing is really well plotted, the characters are all drawn out well and you either like them or you don’t the criminals are quite nasty but they are armed robbers. The officers area mixed bag really some seem to come round to Jane as she proves herself others not so much.
This book is available to pre order now and will be available in shops or online as from the 22nd August 2019
I would like to thank netgalley and Bonnie Zaffre for letting me have an ARC of this book all views and opinions are my own and honest.
Lynda La Plante was born in Liverpool. She trained for the stage at RADA and worked for the National Theatre and RDC before becoming a television actress. She then turned to writing – and made her breakthrough with the phenomenally successful TV series Widows. Her novels have all been international bestsellers.
Her original script for the much acclaimed Prime Suspect won awards from BAFTA,Emmy, British Broadcasting and Royal Television Society as well as the 1993 Edgar Allan Poe Award. Lynda has written and produced over 170 hours of international television.
You can follow Lynda on Facebook and Twitter @LaPlanteLynda.