BAD FOR GOOD By Graham Bartlett @Allison&Busby @gbpoliceadvisor #BookReview

Out now / Hardback / ebook / audiobook /


How far would you go?

The murder of a promising footballer, son of Brighton’s highest-ranking police officer, means Detective Superintendent Jo Howe has a complicated and sensitive case on her hands. The situation becomes yet more desperate following devastating blackmail threats.

Howe can trust no one as she tracks the brutal killer in a city balanced on a knife edge of vigilante action and a police force riven with corruption.


I had seen lots of good comments on this book, and being a lover of crime fiction I thought I would buy myself a copy and see what I thought. Just before picking this one up I had just finished a fast paced Psychological Thriller. So this one had a lot to live up to. But I had seen some of the girls in our @squadpod3 were recommending so had a feeling this would be good.

Initially I found the pace a little slow, but that’s just me, I like to go into a story at 100 miles an hour. However, the slow part was necessary really to get to know some of the main players in the story. Once that was done the pace started to pick up and by the time I had reached part 2 I couldn’t stop it had me completely gripped, finishing it at 4am this morning. I had to know how it was going to end before I could even think of sleeping.

The story is set in Brighton, the crime rates are rising, but the police are so short of officers, something I know we have been hearing for a while now, with budget cuts, a ban on hiring new officers for several years. Because the police are taking longer and longer to attend crime scenes whether that be break ins, assaults, burglary it has given a vigilante group a chance to grow its own business. But this business does not come free to those who call it. The methods of dealing with the perpetrators are pretty gruesome as well as we learn from the start. But this is just the beginning. The opening scene gives an idea as to how this group work, but you have no idea who they are.

Detective Chief Superintendent Phil Cooke, has a lot going on not just at work but also in his home life, his wife Ruth is dying from cancer, he has two sons Harry and Kyle, Harry is on his way to be a professional footballer for Brighton and Hove Albion, Phil is thrilled at this and so proud of his son. Then, he has work dealing with ACC Acers who is demanding he makes more cuts, but how can you cut something when there is nothing left to cut, they are already running on low staff, being called out by the press and the public for the rise in crime.

But then something happens that will change Phil’s life forever, his son Harry is murdered. Detective Superintendent Joanne Howe is tasked with finding the killer of Harry Cooke, he had been stabbed in the heart. But there is absolutely nothing to go on, no evidence at the scene, no witnesses. Word on the street is that a local drug ring leader Marco is to blame but Marco has gone underground for reasons of his own. It starts to look to Jo that there are vigilante’s out there, but it’s something she doesn’t want to believe, and it’s something her superiors tell her to stay clear of as it’s just talk. But where does Harry’s death fit in? He was a popular person with a great future ahead of him. Who would want him dead?

The vigilante group contact Phil and offer to find Harry’s killer for a price, Phil doesn’t want to do this but this group knows things about Phil, things that would end his career, if he doesn’t toe the line things won’t look good not just for him but others in his family.

Once you knew all the players in this, it became very fast paced and gripping, I felt like screaming at some of the characters telling them to listen to what they are being told. It was unclear who could be trusted who is the puppet master pulling all the strings. I will admit I did guess who Harry’s killer was before the end of the book but that didn’t matter, because with everything that was going on towards the end, I was on the edge of my seat, or should I say edge of my bed! There are some great characters in this, some I would like to see again, some I felt such empathy for especially Bob Heaton. They were all believable, relatable. Some nice and some not so nice but that happens in life.

If you like your crime read gritty and dark in places then grab a copy of this you will not be disappointed. The timeline runs from the end of April to the middle of August. Once you get into this you will not be able to put it down. A definite ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💥💥💥💥💥 read. Engrossing, at times tense, gripping read.


Graham Bartlett was a police officer for thirty years and is now a bestselling writer. He rose to become chief superintendent and the divisional commander of Brighton and Hove police. He entered the Sunday Times Top Ten with his first non-fiction book, Death Comes Knocking, which he later followed with Babes in the Wood. Both of these books he co-wrote with international bestseller, Peter James. As well as writing, Bartlett is a police procedural and crime advisor helping scores of authors and TV writers achieve authenticity in their drama.

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