Lovesey, Peter. Cop to Corpse.

NY: Soho Press, 2012.

“Hero to zero. Cop to corpse.” That’s how it starts. One minute PC Tasker of the Bath police is on night patrol, the next minute he’s lying on the pavement with a sniper’s bullet through his head. Cop-killing is always a bad thing and other cops won’t let up until they’ve caught the shooter. In this case, Tasker is the third dead uniformed constable in a couple of months, all in different towns in the area.

The first senior man on the scene is the newly-promoted DI Ken Lockton, who sees a chance for personal glory, and as a result is shortly in a coma with a damaged skull, a direct result of trying to go it alone.

Superintendent Peter Diamond turns out, along with everyone else, and finds himself with potentially two dead policemen to avenge. But he’s only just getting started when Superintendent Jack Gull, head of the Serial Crimes Unit, swoops in and takes over. Diamond knows how to deal with the mouthy Gull, though. And then the just-begun investigation gets put on hold while they all respond to a report of a man with a rifle in a nearby wooded area, leading to an intense, multi-chapter manhunt of the sort for which the badly overweight Diamond is not at all physically suited. Especially when he gets run over by the culprit on a hidden motorcycle.

The whole case seems to be developing its own momentum but Diamond can’t help but think there’s something wrong here, that the latest shooting on his turf isn’t quite like the previous two. It’ll be awhile, though, before he can regain control of events.

Meanwhile, a whole new series of alternating chapters appears, purporting to be the blog of a young women who delivers flowers for a living, relating her adventures with her two friends in trying to follow and identify a suspicious businessman. My first thought was, “What the hell?” Eventually, both narrative lines come together, though it’s rather a clunky process likely to annoy many readers. I put this one right in the middle of the pack in terms of quality. Maybe Lovesey needs to pay closer attention.

Published in: on 20 January 2016 at 5:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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