I was lucky enough to be asked by the publisher to take part in the blog tour for the debut novel by Mark Hardie called Burned and Broken.
Burned and Broken introduces us to Detectives Pearson and Russell. They are called to a car fire, as inside is a body suspected to be one of their colleagues. This same colleague is currently the focus of an internal investigation which Cat Russell seems to be getting caught up in. Alongside this we meet Donna. She is mourning the loss of her friend Alicia. Both girls were in a care home together until Alicia was found dead. Donna suspects that she was murdered.
Burned and Broken was an interesting read. Set by the sea in Southend the story was written from multiple viewpoints, and with overlapping time frames. This at first was a little confusing if, like me, you didn’t realise this was going to be the case. However once I worked that out, this novel absolutely flew for me. The two cases of potential murder that are mentioned in the blurb on the back are not the only issues within the book. There is pretty much every issue a police procedural can cover – seedy nightclubs, dodgy brother in laws, suicides, debt, corruption, paedophiles and bent coppers. All of this means that it is a novel that needs concentrating on but that isn’t always a bad thing.
There were a lot of characters in the book and it was only due to the novel’s blurb explicitly saying who the two main characters are that I really knew. Yet all of this simply adds to what I thought was a brilliantly layered novel. The switching between viewpoints was clearly done with ease as I found it easy to keep up. Equally although there were lots of characters but they are all clearly defined and each chapter was easy to follow. I enjoyed the storyline, and although I did suspect the main twists it was still a bit of a shock when it actually appeared.
I do have a slight gripe in that it was clearly a novel written with a second in mind from the offset. This meant that there were loose ends which I don’t like. However, overall this was an excellent debut novel, and at least the loose ends mean that there is definitely a second novel coming.