The Crime Trade – Simon Kernick

I finished The Crime Trade, Simon Kernick’s third novel, in hardback (I must be keen!) last night, and it was really rather good. I have something of a soft spot for dark crime fiction, and this certainly hit the spot.

John Gallan, who was the star of the show in The Murder Exchange returns, and he is a good hero. Suitably miserable and dogged, he also has a wicked line in black humour. The reader warms to him pretty quickly. Plus, he’s fairly realistic: as a forty-odd year old copper, he is regularly out run and out fought by the bad guys – he certainly isn’t a superman. Gallan has managed to find himself a girlfriend, too, Tina Boyd, another detective.

What’s also refreshing about Kernick’s books is that the plots don’t rely on people making incredible imaginitive leaps, there are very few Holmes moments where one character suddenly is able to divine exactly what is going on. Instead, the books develop in a methodical manner, similar to the slow, meticulous investigations undertaken by the police.

I won’t bother giving away any of the plot, but suffice to say that this is a well written, witty and exciting read. Kernick seems to improve massively book by book, and I am certainly looking orward to his fourth.