An explosive fire. A double murder. And that's just the start.
When DCI Michael Lambert is called out to an apparent house fire, he knows it can’t be routine. Instead he finds the remains of a burnt house, a traumatised child and two corpses - one of whom is a senior police officer.Lambert’s got other problems. Anti-corruption are onto his boss. His relationships is on the rocks. He can’t get over his ex-wife and he keeps blacking out.
But when a detective has been murdered the stakes are too high to get distracted. All is not as it seems. As the investigation continues Lambert realises he is getting drawn into something altogether bigger and more terrifying than he could ever have imagined…
Trust no one.
'Dead Embers' is Matt Brolly's third book in his DCI Lambert series. I read and enjoyed the first two and thought they were excellent reads, so was really looking forward to reading this one too. Now that I've read it, I dare say this is absolutely the author's best to date.
A house is engulfed by flames. Fire officers manage to save a young child from the inferno, but sadly it's too late for the girl's parents. The mother was a senior policewoman. When Lambert and fire experts are sent to the scene, it is quickly established that the fire was no accident, but arson. Someone murdered these people. Someone wanted to wipe out the entire Jardine family, but who? And why? Is this connected to the mother's work? Or to the father's banking business?
This is one of those books which you can't say too much about for fear of spoiling the plot, as early on in the book, we have a major unexpected twist that ensnares the reader and throws the whole story in a completely different direction. All of a sudden, the case becomes far more complex than solving a double homicide, to such an extent that Lambert begins to doubt his capability of solving it. It seems someone is always one step ahead of him and his team, disrupting their every move. Soon the number of victims rises and a huge tangled web of corruption, deceit and depravity is uncovered. Will Lambert be able to track down the dark mind behind it all?
I really enjoyed reading this book and found myself devouring large chunks of it per sitting. 'Dead Embers' can be read as a standalone, but I would still recommend readers to read the series in order to fully appreciate it. I was rather surprised at how the author has brilliantly weaved this book's plot and was curious to see how it will all end. Certainly I could never have imagined the way the story developed.
All characters are very realistic and vividly brought to life. I like Lambert. He's an excellent police officer, a troubled soul ravished by guilt. Suffering from occasional blackouts, he's not feeling too comfortable in his current on-off relationship with DCI Sarah May. Lambert can't leave his past and the past won't leave him. I liked the interaction between Lambert and his heavyset superior Tillman, who very frequently pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable in his line of work. Lambert is joined in the investigation by DS Matilda Kennedy - another source of guilt for him. Matilda is another likeable character and a bold police officer and I just hope the author will leave the pair together in future books as they form a great team.
'Dead Embers' is a very intriguing suspenseful read full to the brim with non-stop fast-paced action, explosions, tension, claustrophobic scenes that made me gasp for breath, and finally, a shocking ending. Highly recommended!
With thanks to the author for an ARC of this book which I voluntarily accepted to read and review.
Following his law degree where he developed an interest in criminal law, Matt Brolly completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University.
He is the author of the DCI Lambert crime novels, Dead Eyed, Dead Lucky, and Dead Embers which is released March 6th 2017. In addition he is the author of the acclaimed near future crime trilogy, featuring DI Kate Swanson, which begins with Zero.
Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children. You can find out more about Matt at his website MattBrolly.co.uk or by following him on twitter: @MatthewBrolly