I love a good crime thriller / police procedural novel and recently discovered a new author, M. W. Craven – who has to be up there with the best of them. He has written two series of detective books – The Avison Fluke Series and The Washington Fluke Series. Both series of books are fast paced, tense and really take a grip and won’t let go. So after finishing all the available books in the Poe series and Born in a Burial Gown from the Avison Fluke series I dived straight in to the next book in the Fluke series, Body Breaker, and it didn’t disappoint!
The Avison Fluke series is a detective series set in Cumbria featuring Detective Inspector Avison Fluke of the Force Major Investigation Team (FMIT). He is a 40-year-old, brilliant but stubborn man, recovering from cancer. He has a tendency to speak his mind to the point of rudeness, with his focus on doing what’s right not what is easy. He ignores direct orders and is constantly in trouble with his superiors (or as he calls them, his inferiors) but with his team of “misfits” that he works with, gets the job done.
Body Breaker is the second book in the Avison Fluke series.
When a severed hand appears on the third green of a Cumbrian golf course it leads to the gruesome discovery of a dismembered body. D.I. Avison Fluke and his FMIT team try to investigate the carnage of a crime scene but before long a new team arrives from London, taking the case from him under the guise of National Security. Fluke is quite pleased as it is not a case he wants.
Fluke lives is an isolated cabin in the woods and when a young woman, a New Age traveller, arrives at his door with a cryptic message he is soon drawn in to the strange case again, running a parallel investigation even though he has been barred from investigating it. This will see him alienating his team, getting arrested under the Terrorism Act, being locked up and eventually having to make a deal with Cumbria’s most powerful and dangerous criminal. And this is just the beginning!
As with all the books I have read by M. W. Craven, Body Breaker is a well-crafted, absolutely absorbing and thrilling read. M. W. Craven is an excellent storyteller, a very talented writer and the stories never seem to lose any quality, just improving the more I read.
Body Breaker is an excellent story of New Age travellers, terrorism, police politics, revenge and murder. It is a story that twists and turns again and again to keep you guessing right up until the end who the actual murderer is. It is a very intelligently written crime thriller. Whilst there is a lot happening with the investigation and the various subplots, it is never rushed or forced and the story flows with ease.
The characters have some great depth, jumping out from the page with Fluke and his sidekick Towler (both ex-military) working very well together. The cast of characters from the first book in the series have made it into this one, including Fluke’s girlfriend, his team and even the criminal mastermind and they all add excellent continuality to the series.
Body Breaker can be read as a standalone novel but reading Born in a Burial Gown first will give a much better insight into the characters and backstory.
Body Breaker is an excellent crime thriller, written by a master storyteller. With the premise of the story being murder and a chopped up body there really isn’t too much violence and what there is isn’t gratuitous.
If you are looking for a fast-paced thriller with a good flowing gripping story and well-crafted characters that bounce off each other very well, combined with a bit of humour then I can highly recommend Body Breaker and the Avison Fluke series. A very addictive book and series.
RRP: £8.99 (available in Kindle, Audible and paperback versions).