Private Eyes Dan Brady and Eva Roberts are approached by their jaded police contact Gary Rowntree who is concerned over the disappearance of his brother Charlie. Rowntree is loth to make his investigation official for reasons of his own.
The pair visit Charlie’s house to discover that he left his wife and children to face debts, not having told them that he left his job months ago.
Delving into social media, Eva manages to find links between Charlie and a sex blogger called Anna Eavis. Anna and Charlie it transpires, run swingers parties and when the detectives visit Anna pretending to be journalists, she tells them she won’t give them a story unless they come to a party the next day in a large house in Blackheath. Unbeknown to the pair, they are walking into danger and opening a rather larger can of worms than they expected.
It’s an easy read and despite some critics citing numerous typos and spelling errors, I only noticed one in the entire novel.
It has its flaws. Carter really needs to work on his dialogue as it comes over as a tad unrealistic. Dan especially is one character for whom less would be decidedly more in this respect. He talks too much. At some points there is a valid reason, such as when he is trying to provoke someone to shoot him so he can disarm them. At other times it’s just relentless and sustained attacks of macho verbosity and infodumping.
Conversely, Eva is a far more interesting character, employing novel solutions to obtain information about people. It is a bit of a shame that Dan seems to get more page space in this novel. There are several more however so maybe the balance may be redressed. It might have been better if Carter had mixed up the dynamic a bit and made Dan a bit geeky, and had Eva as the streetwise Essex girl who can handle a gun and talk her way out of a dangerous situation.
It’s not bad, at the end of the day. Reads a little like a first draft though. I don’t yet feel that Carter inhabits his characters enough to give them their own voices and patterns of speech. It could do with a serious revision but the basic premise works and I love the idea of Bromley in Kent being a hotbed of murder, sex, drugs and general racey behaviour.