Review: Hidden Crimes (DCI Sophie Allen #11) by Michael Hambling


Print Length: 286 pages
Publisher: Joffe Books (November 3, 2022)

From Exploring a foggy Wiltshire hill path, a walker hears a distant scream and calls the police, but the attending officers find nothing.

Two days later, a farmworker comes across a woman’s body, her head bashed in. The victim is quickly identified as Bridget Kirkbride, who lived alone in a small cottage in a pretty nearby village.

Detective Sophie Allen is called in. It’s her first major case as head of the newly-formed Wessex Serious Crime Unit — and she’s under pressure to get a quick result.

Bridget was a mainstay of village life, always ready to help out her neighbours. No one has a bad word to say about her.

So who killed her?

Her supposedly devoted son, Grant, has disappeared without trace.

Then a body is pulled out of a reed bed in the River Severn.

Sophie and her team are in a race against time to uncover the truth before anyone else pays the ultimate price.


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

To be clear, I have not read any of the prior novels. 

In that aspect this was a good novel because while there were past working relationships hinted at, and current romantic relationships being explored, I never felt lost while reading this one. I feel it is important to mention this because the author has a habit of saying things "Gwen, Barry's partner", or referencing Sophie and how she was apparently too high of a rank to be investigating things as though the reader had forgotten. Even as a new reader, I found these things to be repetitive to the point of annoying. I know who Gwen is. I know who Sophie is. I don't need to be constantly reminded of their roles.

However, the writing style was just not for me. And honestly, I'm not sure where to begin.

Almost immediately into the story, we have a white female officer who is so dang racist to the point she accuses a witness (who is also a well known surgeon) of being into voodoo just because the witness is black, and refusing to take said witness seriously at the time of the complaint. Then you have the head of all things and the lead detective on the case referring to visiting the victim's home as having a "look-see". Then there are various times when the lead detectives ask their team to have "brainwaves". I originally assumed this to mean a brainstorm (when part of the group setting) or a flash of inspiration, however after continuning to read and see other instances of words being used in an odd fashion, I began to realize that this is just how the author writes. 

I was also very entertained by the amount of times a character in this story was "bemused". Certain potential witnesses"bemused" everyone who interviewed them. Cops were "bemused" by townsfolk in ways that had nothing to do with the investigation. Did the author not own a theaurus? Did they not care? Or am I reviewing a rough draft that has since been corrected before the final product? 

I am curious to find out. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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