Burned and Broken by Mark Hardie ★★★☆☆
Published: 2016 (Paperback to be published May 2017)
I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher Little Brown. All opinions are honest and my own.
The charred body of an enigmatic policeman – currently the subject of an internal investigation – is found in the burnt-out shell of his car on the Southend sea front.
Meanwhile, a vulnerable young woman, fresh out of the care system, is trying to discover the truth behind the sudden death of her best friend.
As DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell from the Essex Police Major Investigation Team are brought in to solve the mystery of their colleague’s death, dark, dangerous secrets begin to surface. Can they solve both cases, before it’s too late?
Burned and Broken is a debut crime novel set in Essex. It has an interesting structure, following members of the police as well as Donna, a young woman whose best friend recently died. For me, this was a novel of two parts.
The novel starts off slowly. For me, it would have benefited with some editing. Hardie starts off being overly descriptive along with ‘info-dumps’ of very detailed police procedures. The first half is very much setting the scene and building up to when the investigation actually kicks off. However, I urge you to continue on to the strong second half.
In the second half of this novel Hardie seems to have found his feet as an author. I really enjoyed how the he weaves the two parts of the story together, culminating in a very satisfying conclusion.
But for me, my favourite part of the novel comes from Donna. She’s a very troubled young woman, she grew up with a tough upbringing and now with her best friend dead she’s falling apart. She was a very complex character, but brilliantly (and realistically) written.
Overall this was a sound debut novel, and Hardie’s development through the story means I’m excited to see what he comes up with next.
P.S. If you’re interested in trying this out, it’s currently £1.99 on Kindle
Mark Hardie was born in 1960 in Bow, East London. He began writing full time after completely losing his eyesight in 2002. He has completed a creative writing course and an advanced creative writing course at the Open University, both with distinction.
Check out the other bloggers on today’s stop of the blog tour: