27 November 2011

Review: DEADLY INTENT, Lynda La Plante - audio

  • Narrated by Janet McTeer
  • Length: 5 hours 30 mins (Abridged)
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • available from Audible
  • Source: audio book won at Crime Fest 2011
  • #4 in the Anna Travis series, originally published in 2008
Synopsis (from publisher)

Alexander Fitzpatrick is one of the most wanted men in the Western world. A Howard Marks character, but far more dangerous, his wealth, accrued through drug-trafficking, runs into millions.
For the past ten years there has been no sighting of him. Has he gone to ground using an alias, or is he dead?
When an ex-police officer from the murder squad is found shot in a dank squat, Anna Travis is pulled onto the case. As the body count rises and the investigation becomes ever more complex, suspicion falls on Fitzpatrick. Is he still alive and in the UK? Could he be the killer, with terrifying access to the most lethal drug in existence?

My take

My apologies for basing my review on an abridged audio version. It does appear that this version is severely abridged - perhaps by as much as 60% - so you are left wondering how representative it is of the original work. I suspect that quite a deal of the interplay between the characters has been omitted and some events are summarised, in other words, described rather than experienced.

I have read the 3 earlier titles in this series, just before I started this blog, and enjoyed them very much. I have put my mini-reviews at the bottom of this post.

So I was already familiar with the back story to the Anna Travis series, which included her relationship with James Langton. Although Langton does not start off being in charge of the case in DEADLY INTENT he takes charge when the original boss of the CID team has personal problems. That he sees Anna Travis as a loose cannon to be carefully guarded comes through loud and clear, and to be honest, Anna is not a good team player. She is very likely to go off impulsively on a tangent on her own, rather like a bloodhound following a faint scent.
To be fair to Anna it is her intuition that leads to connections being made, but it also highlight the fact that the team often does not do its job properly. It seems unfair though that James Langton is so willing to lay the blame at Anna's door, rather than accept the responsibility himself.

From the questions my listening partner in the car asked me, knowing the story from previous titles was important to a full understanding of DEADLY INTENT, and so this is a series that it pays to read in order. There are now 7 titles in the series.

Janet McTeer does an impressive job with the narration and the voice changes.

My rating: 4.5

From Fantastic Fiction:
Anna Travis
1. Above Suspicion (2004)
2. The Red Dahlia (2006)
3. Clean Cut (2007)
4. Deadly Intent (2008)
5. Silent Scream (2009)
6. Blind Fury (2010)
7. Bloodline (2011)

Mini-reviews of earlier titles

#1 In the Anna Travis series. Published 2004. My rating 5.0
Detective Chief Inspector Langton has the opportunity to had an extra DS to his team investigating a series of murders when one of his team goes sick. He chooses DS Anna Travis a graduate in economics who has experience in number of squads but has never worked on a murder team. Her father was a well respected DCS.  Anna gets an instant introduction to murder when the body of a young female student is found on Clapham Common, and she first views the body in situ and then attends the post mortem. At first the murder team incident room treat Anna as an inexperienced rookie, but then her dedication to her work proves her worth to them as she stumbles across a vital connection that identifies the possible killer. An excellent read. I look forward to the next in the series.

(Audio version:CD) Published 2006. My rating 4.8
The second in the Anna Travis series.The body of a young girl is discovered on the banks of the Thames. Clues point to the possibility that the death is a mirror image of a Los Angeles case from the 21940s, known as ""The Black Dahlia"". The murderer sets us clues to taunt. A second body is discovered and still there is no break through. Anna is again working with Detective Chief Inspector Langton and she has trouble in working out how he feels about her. He seems very enamoured of an American profiler. But the days roll on and still there is no breakthrough. And then comes the anonymous phone call with a name.. This is an unabridged reading by Jane McTeer who does an excellent job of characterisation. Approx 6 hours.

Published 2007. My rating 4.6
The sequel to THE RED DAHLIA. In the intervening time DI Anna Travis and DCI James Langton have become lovers. They no longer work together and endeavour to keep their working and private lives separate. When Langton is horrifically injured in a murder arrest that goes wrong, Anna becomes vital to his recovery. While Langton is still in hospital, Anna is assigned to a new case where a librarian is found dead by her twelve year old daughter returning from school. The suspect in this case is yet another violent rapist released from prison far too early. And then, perhaps a little predictably, the case Anna is working on and the one Langton was working on when he was attacked become linked. This a long and complex novel, with an ending that ensures there will be yet another sequel.

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