Book Review – A Hill to Die On by Ed James – Lovable Cop Novel
My Rating – 4 out of 5
Plot Summary (Storyline) – A Hill to Die On
One of my most favorite fictional cops – DI Simon Fenchurch is back with his 2021 edition – A Hill to Die On and I, most gleefully, devoured it in three days! I find this series to be written with a lot of heart and devotion, the characters are very well built, complex, and aren’t always easily characterized as black or white. There are ample shades of grey, just like all of us, and the stories are built up well and really involves the reader in how it progresses. There is a lot of science aiding in criminal investigations these days, but none of them would alone help solve a mystery completely.
The most critical factor in the investigation is the detective’s focus, and her/his doing a lot of footwork, intuitiveness, and perseverance. Coming to the story at hand, DCI Simon Fenchurch’s abducted and found 11 years later daughter, Chloe, is now 20 and a fresh recruit into the Met Police, following her father and grandfather Ian Fenchurch’s footsteps. On a late-night beat, near the end of her shift, Chloe discovers a dead retired cop at the base of a Navy Memorial. The dead cop had worked with her grandfather Ian and seems to have been drowned elsewhere, with his body then being transported where it was found.
Simon is called in to investigate and while he’s still trying to wrap his head around this murder, two more cop suicides are reported from nearby. Simon finds that the three had all worked together at one time. Is it something tied to their shared past? Simon’s father Ian and another cop was also part of that group, but he’s nowhere to be found now. Ian is brought in to look at the cases these cops had worked together many years ago, to see if there was anybody aggrieved enough to come back so many years later to exact revenge. Another question that bugs him is that are these suicides or are they murders covered up to look like one?
On his personal front, Simon and his wife Abi have separated once again on the back of Abi’s infidelity and is now living with Chloe in a different flat. Individually they both realize that their children, Chloe and three-year-old Al, need both their parents to be around, but Simon is unable to move on from Abi’s betrayal. They try, visit a marriage counselor regularly but after all, it is the two of them who have to decide what is most important to them, and to that end, do they want to reconcile by forgiving and forgetting or just move on their own separate ways?
Conclusion – Book Review of A Hill to Die On
As is usual, the story moves along at a brisk pace, developing the complexity of the situations and the characters, with one thing that the author makes clear. These books are not just about police work, it is about those humans behind the uniform, their lives impacted by their line of work, the damaged relationships, and sacrifices that they routinely make to keep us safe or get justice for us. Despite some rotten apples, police forces are mostly heroes without capes.
A personal favorite so my opinion may be a little biased, but I definitely recommend this series for fans of the crime thriller genre.
Subsequent to this 2021 release – A Hill to Die On, the author has announced the pre-booking for book no. 9 of the DI Fenchurch series – The Last Thing to Die, scheduled for release in December 2022. The cover design is presented above. This one carries a teaser for next year’s edition of the much-loved series!
*I hope you have enjoyed reading this book review as much as I have enjoyed writing this! Do watch this space for more such reviews and navigate through the links below for more… Thank you!! *
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