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review 2019-10-14 19:47
Great addition to the series
The Hanging Club (DC Max Wolfe) - Tony Parsons

A self appointed Vigilante group is roaming the streets of London administering their own  brand of retribution. Those perpetrators who have seemingly escaped justice, or received a soft sentence, are kidnapped blindfolded taken to a hidden location where lady luck in no longer in residence and the ferryman of Hades is about to cross the river Styx.

 

Tony Parsons is a totally unique crime writer. He brings all the love, all the emotion, all the need, all the want from his writing debut Man & Boy, and weaves his style and finesse into the mindset of DC Max Wolfe. We have a detective with the cunning of a fox and the heart of a lion. Underneath this tough exterior is the deep love he has for his daughter Scout and their faithful dog Stan. Parsons writing has the ability to stop me in my tracks and just ponder the words before me...."All parents want the same things for their children. But the single parent wants something extra"....."You can make new friends Jackson Rose said looking at me..but you can't make old friends"......"I felt myself on the very edge of the blackness that lasts forever, and it felt as sweet and welcome as home"...."it is when we are closest to death that we cling most strongly to life"...."but in the end we all run out of time"....

 

Yet another great read from the delicate hand of Tony Parsons. Perhaps the story lacks a little credibility but the authors skilful technique, and wonderful warm characters makes it a great addition to the Max Wolfe series.

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review 2019-07-20 11:38
Warm and soulful storytelling
Taken - Tony Parsons

Tony Parsons will always have a warm place in my heart after his ground breaking Man & Boy now unbelievably written 20 years ago, What Parsons excels in is relationships and in particular the dynamics of family life how passion can easily turn to sadness,and how there is very little that separates those great human emotions; love and hate. So when the author turned his skillful hand to writing a detective series I was eager to see if he could bring the same warmth to characters in a totally different setting, and I was certainly not disappointed. D I Max Wolfe is a a single parent living above Smithfield meat market in central London. He shares his life with daughter Scout, Stan the dog and irascible Mrs Murphy who sees herself as guardian of this lovely little family. Ex wife Anne has flown the nest although we do meet her periodically in the series and she paints a rather sad picture of a mother too concerned with her own financial aspirations to be bothered about her daughter. But this helps Parsons develop the character of Wolfe letting his warmth shine through and loved without question by Stan and Scout. To me relationships form the heart of TP's writing brilliantly depicted against a criminal background

 

Not like most crime novels Parsons has a clear simple plot; Jessica  Lyle is kidnapped whilst driving her friend Snezia's BMW. Is this a case of mistaken identity were the kidnappers really after Synezia and by doing so hoping to blackmail her gangster boyfriend Harry Flowers. Thats the plot and it runs along at a cracking pace but as implied above this is not what endears me to this novel. It is TP's razor sharp observations of the human condition and the human heart with all the pain it must endure in a short lifetime......"the recently dead do not leave us immediately. They stay close by, held by the sadness of leaving, and the human bonds that were made in this world"...."They were like brother and sister towards the end. Isn't that the way it always ends up between men and women, if you leave them together long enough?",,,,,

There is a wonderful scene in the final chapter. It is sports day at Scouts school and because her birthday is at the end of July she is always competing against fellow classmates who are older and thus have the advantage of age. All she wants to do is just once win a gold, silver or bronze sticker either in the heats or in the final. She lines up against 3 fellow competitors one of whom is a rather overweight pupil...surely on this day she can win not a first place not even a second place but just possibly a third and perhaps finally receive a bronze sticker...well this is Tony Parsons writing and I am sure if  you now understand his psyche a little better you will surely know the answer and the race outcome. A wonderful writer that brings a much needed warmth to a great detective series. Highly Recommended

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review 2018-09-27 00:00
Man and Boy
Man and Boy - Tony Parsons When Harry lost Gina because he cheated on her with a one-night stand, he got something else in return; a chance to learn how to be a real father to his young son, Pat. You can find out what I thought of Tony Parsons’s novel “Man and Boy” (the first in his Harry Silver series) in my latest book review on my blog now.
https://tcl-bookreviews.com/2018/09/29/educating-harry/
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review 2018-04-08 12:03
In a word....Brilliant!
Die Last - Tony Parsons

For some reason I appear to be reading the DC Max Wolfe series in reverse order, not that this really makes any difference to my enjoyment of this first class creation by our very own home bred author Tony Parsons. What sets this crime series equal to and often above the everyday police procedural is the warmth and humanity that the author instils in Max Wolfe retaining so much of the charm from Parsons earlier books (Man and Boy, Man and Wife) Make no mistake Wolfe is a no nonsense operator with an unbreakable exterior yet at the same time shielding a gentle man possessing a deep understanding of the human psyche. Just observe this paragraph when Max is deep in concentration about his dead parents...."But I saw them both after they died, and the spark that had made them the man and woman they were had gone to some other place or dissolved from the Universe. I had no idea but their souls had flown".....

 

One early cold February morning in Chinatown central London a refrigerated lorry is discovered abandoned it's owner having taken flight. Discovered inside are the frozen remains of 12 women together with 13 passports. So the race is on to locate the identity of the only live witness to this senseless massacre. This story will take Max Wolfe into the core and past of London's criminal fraternity, and in so doing he will discover the senseless barbaric migration of a poor unsuspecting people making the journey to England for the start of what they hope is a new rich fulfilling life. They will ultimately discover that they are merely merchandise or goods to be traded effectively sold into the slavery of prostitution by evil men whose true intent is exploitation and greed...."Human Trafficking, Smuggling and Slavery, the CPS will call it. Enough to put someone away for fourteen years."....

 

The author is an expert at retaining the reader's attention with his tight descriptive prose using the colourful vibrant beating heart of London as his stage..."It was very cold and I was tired. I wanted to be under the same roof as my daughter and my dog. I wanted to be away from the liars and the desperate"...."a woman who had successfully carved a career from the desires of men".... Whatever the outcome there was never going to be a happy fix or a solution to the question of illegal immigration. DC Max Wolfe as a dogged investigator hunting out the evil but ultimately what he accomplishes is merely a sticking plaster over an open wound..."Of the twelve women we discovered on that freezing morning, only Hana Novak was ever identified and claimed. I felt we had failed them all and everyone who loved them"........

 

Many thanks to the good people at netgalley and the publisher Random House UK, Cornerstone Arrow for a gratis copy in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have written......in a word Brilliant!

 

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review 2018-03-26 21:15
Wonderful wonderful storytelling
Girl On Fire: (DC Max Wolfe) - Tony Parsons

Many moons ago I read Man and Boy by Tony Parsons and was pleasantly surprised by this warm and delightful story of family relationships and a father faced with the responsibility of being the sole parent for his small son. I was aware that he had written a detective series, for some years I avoided but often wondered how it could be possible to produce such emotive writing in a totally different genre. Girl on Fire has been an amazing read combining all Parson's warmth from his earlier books with a gritty fast paced detective story engaging and shocking in equal measures.

 

"I woke up and found the world was gone" These are the opening "explosive" thoughts of DC Max Wolfe as he recovers and surveys the aftermath of a terrorist attack at a local shopping centre. Wolfe is a member of a specialist firearms unit of the Metropolitan police. Following the explosion he and his team are tasked with finding the individuals responsible, made all the more urgent when it becomes clear that an unknown number of Croatian hand grenades have..."found their way across from the Balkans to our streets"....They have been traced to two brothers Asad and Adnan Khan who also appear to be linked in some way to the shopping centre explosion. The race is on to expose the terrorist cell before more death and destruction "bloodies" the streets of London.

 

This is an astounding, intelligent, up to the minute, thriller that not only addresses terrorism on the capital's streets but also the affects such acts of hatred has on both the individuals and families involved. What happens when different cultures and beliefs collide? When social media can be used to brainwash the bad and the vulnerable? And when angry young men and women are prepared to kill for what they feel is a righteous and just cause....But this story is much more than that. The warmth, the love and values that graced the earlier books of Tony Parsons is still present and adds an extra layer of brilliance to some of the best emotive prose I have read in a very long time. There is Scout, Max Wolfe' cherished daughter, living with him but now the subject of a court battle between Wolfe and his ex "model" wife Anne. There is the harsh reality that life in a dangerous frontline policing job means friends and colleagues may be present one day and sadly gone tomorrow. There is the unquestionable love that exists between man and (his) dog (Stan)..."I lie belly-up in the sunshine, happier than you will ever be. Today I sniffed many dot butts-I celebrate by kissing your face"....There is the complex often hypocritical belief in religious teachings and the affects and fallouts that all in society must bear witness to.

 

There is an explosive start to Girl on Fire and an equally harrowing "I never expected that" conclusion. Tony Parsons has accomplished what I never thought possible by creating something new and deeply heartfelt in crime fiction. In DI Max Wolfe we have a vulnerable antihero and a story that brilliantly moulds all the jagged edges of this sorry tale together. We as readers understand and appreciate Wolfe's weaknesses. The story is real, the action is real, the people the emotions, the daily turmoil, the highs and lows of modern living are all so real and on these pages..wonderful stuff...wonderful writing.

Many thanks to the publishers Random House UK, Cornerstone Century and netgalley for a gratis copy in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have written. Highly highly Recommended.

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