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I live in Bristol UK literary fiction and crime are my books of choice and when not reading I like to run

Currently reading

Maggie O'Farrell
Progress: 15 %
The Last British Dambuster: One man's extraordinary life and the raid that changed history
George Johnny Johnson
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Professional Reader 50 Book Reviews 80% Reviews Published

Warm and soulful storytelling

Taken - Tony Parsons

Tony Parsons will always have a warm place in my heart after his ground breaking Man & Boy now unbelievably written 20 years ago, What Parsons excels in is relationships and in particular the dynamics of family life how passion can easily turn to sadness,and how there is very little that separates those great human emotions; love and hate. So when the author turned his skillful hand to writing a detective series I was eager to see if he could bring the same warmth to characters in a totally different setting, and I was certainly not disappointed. D I Max Wolfe is a a single parent living above Smithfield meat market in central London. He shares his life with daughter Scout, Stan the dog and irascible Mrs Murphy who sees herself as guardian of this lovely little family. Ex wife Anne has flown the nest although we do meet her periodically in the series and she paints a rather sad picture of a mother too concerned with her own financial aspirations to be bothered about her daughter. But this helps Parsons develop the character of Wolfe letting his warmth shine through and loved without question by Stan and Scout. To me relationships form the heart of TP's writing brilliantly depicted against a criminal background


Not like most crime novels Parsons has a clear simple plot; Jessica  Lyle is kidnapped whilst driving her friend Snezia's BMW. Is this a case of mistaken identity were the kidnappers really after Synezia and by doing so hoping to blackmail her gangster boyfriend Harry Flowers. Thats the plot and it runs along at a cracking pace but as implied above this is not what endears me to this novel. It is TP's razor sharp observations of the human condition and the human heart with all the pain it must endure in a short lifetime......"the recently dead do not leave us immediately. They stay close by, held by the sadness of leaving, and the human bonds that were made in this world"...."They were like brother and sister towards the end. Isn't that the way it always ends up between men and women, if you leave them together long enough?",,,,,

There is a wonderful scene in the final chapter. It is sports day at Scouts school and because her birthday is at the end of July she is always competing against fellow classmates who are older and thus have the advantage of age. All she wants to do is just once win a gold, silver or bronze sticker either in the heats or in the final. She lines up against 3 fellow competitors one of whom is a rather overweight pupil...surely on this day she can win not a first place not even a second place but just possibly a third and perhaps finally receive a bronze sticker...well this is Tony Parsons writing and I am sure if  you now understand his psyche a little better you will surely know the answer and the race outcome. A wonderful writer that brings a much needed warmth to a great detective series. Highly Recommended