My book review of All Saints: Murder on the Mersey by Brian L Porter. I’m a bit of a fan of this author having now read three books in this series. Well recommended!
All Saints: Murder on the Mersey by Brian L. Porter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
All Saints: Murder on the Mersey (Mersey Murder Mysteries Book 2) is yet one more excellent book from author Brian L Porter in his detective murder mystery series based in and around Liverpool.
This is Book 2 in the series. I have already read Books 1 and 3, respectively A Mersey Killing: When Liverpool Rocked, And The Music Died and A Mersey Maiden.
Allow me please to declare this: I lived on Merseyside for the first twenty something years of my life and I was also at one time a detective on Merseyside. These books are authentic. They may be fiction, but the author captures the very essence of police work and the unique nature and character of all things ‘Scouse.’
I’ll give an example of the author’s realistic writing when it comes to police officers and ‘Scouse’: Young D.C. McLennan says to his boss, D.I. Ross, “Yeah, well, I’ve been learning from the best, haven’t I, sir?” That is in response to the D.C. using his initiative and some deviousness when making a phone call to Exeter University. He implied that a student’s sister had been murdered. That wasn’t the case, but he urgently needed to speak to the student. The clever use of words persuaded the secretary to summon the potential witness from his lecture, bring him to the phone so McLennan could expedite the inquiry. D.S. Izzie Drake was impressed too as she commended the D.C. by saying, “You can be as sly as a Scottie Road scally when you want to be Derek McLennan… You worded that so she’d think just that, you clever little detective, you. Well done.”
The dialogue is real, crisp, and effective. Indeed, the dialogue in all his books I have read so far, is excellent. In many ways it drives the plot along at a fair old pace. Rarely is there a lull in these Mersey Murder Mysteries.
If you combine all that with Mr. Porter’s writing skills, you end up with a fine novel and a brilliant read. I did read a review of one of his books where the reader criticized the informal banter between detectives. Poppycock! Detectives are not much different than many other occupations. They laugh, joke, go home and tell their wives what they are doing (mostly). This author covers all of this but is a master of getting his characters to switch into serious mode. The home life of DI Andy Ross is a particularly good device of this author’s. One, it shows Ross as perfectly normal; a likeable husband and human being. Two, it introduces the thought processes of Ross when faced with investigating complex and gruesome crimes. It moves the plot along.
The author also creates other great characters besides police officers. Father Byrne plays an important role in the plot and we are introduced to him at the beginning of the book. Mr. Porter fleshes out the character to make him believable.
He also uses a criminal profiler character and does it well. With some fiction writers, I think oh, oh, as soon as I read about a profiler because off they go into an unreal world. That can really spoil a book for me. But this author has researched and creates a totally credible criminal profiler who acts appropriately always.
It’s difficult to put Brian L Porter’s books into a category and I’m unsure that’s wise anyway. They are not cozy like Ruth Rendell. In fact, parts of this book are not for the squeamish. They are far more realistic than anything by L J Ross, both in terms of plot and the characters.
I say very little about the plot in this review to avoid spoilers. You are in for a surprise or three! As a former detective, I thought I knew where it was going. Wrong! Matthew, Mark, Luke and John seem too obvious but it isn’t. Great read!