Cover Image: Blunt Force

Blunt Force

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Member Reviews

I love the Tennison television series almost as much as I love Lynda La Plante's books featuring the intrepid investigator.  
With little reason and less notice, Jane has been sent to work in one of the slowest crime areas.  For her, this is a great punishment.  When a well known, well despised theatrical agent is found murdered in a particularly gruesome manner in Jane's sleepy little district, she and DS Gibbs will prove themselves once more.  Another excellent book in the fan favorite Jane Tennison series.
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Having never read any of the Jane Tennisson novels in either the Prime Suspect series or these prequels, I was coming in with no knowledge about the character. Blunt Force is part of the prequel series that serves as an introduction to how Jane becomes the significant character of the later series.

I enjoyed the flow of the story which resolves around a brutal murder of an entertainment agent. Whilst a lot of characters have been introduced previously, there was enough information given to not feel as if I was missing out too much.

Whilst it is evident an early career case, it wasn't clear when the novel is set, with only some clues relating to cars and typewriters. Surprisingly this didn't detract from the storytelling,and still felt current in a weird way 

So whilst I enjoyed the book, I did feel disappointed that the end of the book felt a bit rushed with the main story, and tagging on a mini story relating to a previous case was a bit confusing as a new reader.

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC in return for a honest review.
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I love the Prime Suspect television series--both the series with Jane Mirren and the more recent prequel--so I know that Lynda La Plante can tell a good story.  Unfortunately, I found it hard to get into this book, probably because my mind kept warning to the dramatizations.  There was nothing wrong with this book, and any fan of police procedurals will enjoy it.  I've just been spoiled by the brilliance of Dame Mirren!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a digital arc on NetGalley.
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This police procedural features Jane Tennison as an early-career detective recently demoted from the Flying Squad after freezing during a critical incident involving firearms. Now in a small local police station, she is left to investigate shoplifting and other petty crimes—until a horrific murder is discovered.  The investigation is competent and straightforward though not incredibly suspenseful.  In particular, the detectives take their time getting around to the family and cultural angles that are fairly obvious to the reader much earlier in the story.  Various subplots, some of which we hope will lead to Jane’s eventual reassignment to a more elite team, are sometimes more exciting than the main investigation.  The case is suddenly solved fairly easily, and because of this I expected that there would be more to come, like some high-stakes rescue operation or the discovery of another murder.  Instead, the book just sort of ends without resolving a key outstanding question.  Part of this is undoubtedly to make the reader feel young Jane’s powerlessness and inability—as a junior offcer—to pursue every angle she wants.  Still, I was hoping for a more satisfying ending.  

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a digital advance review copy.
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Lynda La Plants is a new to me author.  This is book six in a series, but can also be read as a standalone.

I love “who done it” type books, but it took me a long time to finish this one!  That’s usually a sign to me that it was just not my cup of tea!  Although I liked the main characters of the book, Detective Jane Tennisons and DS Spencer Gibbs, old friends that team up again to find the killer, I felt like it moved to slow.  There were side stories throughout the whole book that I felt were a distraction and by the end of the book, I really didn’t care “who done it” anymore!

I would like to read one of Lynda La Plante’s other books.  In all fairness, this book might have been better if I had read the other five books in the series first!  

Thank you #NetGalley and #BonnierZaffreUSA for providing me an Advance Reader Copy of #BluntForce in exchange for my unbiased review.
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Blunt Force
By Lynda La Plante

4 stars

The fifth police mystery book by La Plante

An engaging read that draws the reader in. Although it is a little slow around the middle as the plot builds.

The story follows Jane Tennison who is attempting to solve a brutal murder in the heart of London's West End. Charlie Foxley has been found viciously beaten to death with a cricket bat - his body dismembered and disembowelled. Tennison must journey into the salacious world of show business to find out which one is the killer before they strike again.

Although the fifth book in a series, it can be easily read by itself. 

This title has been reviewed by 

This title was provided by Netgalley and the publisher in return for an open and honest review.

#BluntForce              #NetGalley
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“Blunt Force” immediately immerses readers into the police procedure, the action, and the characters. Jane Tennison is now working out of Gerald Road police station. As a woman officer, she is still not totally accepted in the force, plus during her past assignments, she rattled a few cages. 

The narrative is filled with visual descriptions, everyday conversations, and emotional outcomes. There are departmental politics, petty gripes, and justified indignation. The pages bring characters to life by documenting everyday activities with family and friends. There are lots of “petty” crimes and nuisance calls, and the officers all wanted just want something they can get their teeth into, a decent violent crime. When a report comes in of a dog barking all night and still whining in the morning, they get their wish. 

The plot is complex and sensational. The police have a victim who is a member of the show business community, so the case is all over the media.  During the investigation, all sorts of surprising things come to the surface, and everything is complicated, very, very complicated. Things get nastier minute by minute. An incident from Tennison’s past comes back into play with surprising implications. There are mistakes, successes, missteps, bad hunches, good decisions and the solid investigative police work that readers have come to expect from DS Tennison.

“Blunt Force” is easy to read with likeable and realistic characters.  I received a copy of “Blunt Force” from Lynda La Plante and Bonnier Zaffre USA. It is book six of the series, but new readers will easily follow. Any information needed from past books is seamlessly included as part of the current narrative, and will encourage readers to explore previous books.
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The sixth Jane Tennison book was just not as exciting for me as the other five that I have read.  This one was the story of Jane being transferred to a police station in an affluent neighborhood with little crime, until a theatrical agent is brutally murdered.  The description of the murder scene turned my stomach, so I must add here that there were many extra details in this book that I did not feel added anything to the story except salaciousness.  That being said, this is a good crime procedural with many themes, including the world of actors and how deceptive they can be, sexual abuse in that world and the acceptance of a female police officer in an all-male office.  At times, I felt that the book was just too wordy and that slowed the pace of the plot.  The plot itself was interesting and well-developed as were the characters.  My favorite character this time was not Jane, but rather the secretaries and receptionists who had a lot to say truthfully about the death of the rather strange Charlie Foxley.  These details seemed necessary and made the story more realistic and appealing to me, a person who is not part of the acting world in any way.  All in all, I enjoyed the book but I did not think that I needed to race through it to find out whodunit because that took second place to the drama behind the curtains and in the police station itself.  Fans of Tennison may enjoy this new book, but I do think it lacked the humor and general spirit of liveliness that I found in the other books. 
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
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I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had read another book about Jane Tennison and so I was interested in what her newest adventure was. Jane had been kicked off the Flying Squad and was stuck at another quiet station dealing with mostly petty crime (while also going to a shooting range to try and fix her weakness in freezing when a gun was pointed at her) when Charles Foxley ends up brutally murdered. There is much confusion as to motive and suspects though I did enjoy Charles three dogs that kept showing up as no one wanted to deal with them.  That was quite funny.

Spencer is also a major character in this novel, also demoted due to some mistakes (throwing a punch at a traffic cop) and is trying to solve this case with Jane. He annoyed me a little due to his temper but he seems to be a good friend to Jane. Both of them did a good job of figuring out what had happened (no thanks to the three special detectives that had a hand in the case). It was a sad ending though and not what I expected. I liked the book up till the end and would not mind reading more books with Jane in them.
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I was hooked by the first page and it kept me on the edge of my seat until the last sentence of the last page.  What a wonderful story!
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An entertaining read of the famed Jane Tennison early in her career.  Definitely provides you with significant background on janes early struggles on the force.  Good character development and an interesting who done it.  And Jane also gets to interact again with the Flying Squad.
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It may not be fair to author Lynda LaPlante, but this latest book in her Jane Tennison series will be (and has been) compared and contrasted again and again with the TV version of her character, inhabited by the formidable Helen Mirren.

At this stage (set in the 1980s) Tennison is a bit less intimidating. I was unnerved at times by her timidity and seeming lack of confidence in the face of the blatant sexism of the police force. Then, in a flash,  the bold and confident Jane we know would arise, making a forceful point to the men who would overlook her ideas if they could.

Let's clarify that this is not a thriller, but a gritty and seamy police procedural, with a pace more akin to actual police work: a lot of mundane plodding shared in some detail, intercut with a few moments of high adrenaline.

The period detail is wonderful, both in the societal and technical sense. I like almost everything about the book, except for a repeated mistake in word choice: 5 or 6 times throughout the story, the word "inferred" was used instead of implied. A minor but irritating lapse.

Thanks to NetGalley and Bonnier Zaffre USA for an advance readers copy.
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This was an interesting book and as an American I greatly enjoyed the glimpse into how police work is conducted in England.  At times the writing was hard to get into, but the stories and characters were intriguing.  I felt it left the reader with a lot of unanswered questions, but this is book 6 in a series that I imagine will continue and perhaps those questions will be answered in future volumes.  The protagonist, Detective Sergeant Jane, has been demoted to a petty crimes unit after an incident she’s involved in results in a colleague shot.  A murder on a prestigious agent shakes everything up and Jane finds herself engaging in real police work again.  In a lot of ways this was a slow paced story but I will admit at the end things picked up a bit.
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Blunt Force is the sixth novel in Lynda La Plante's Jane Tennison series. This is the origin story of the one and only Jane Tennison, and thus is the story of how she became the confident investigator so many fans knew her to be.

Jane Tennison has had a rough go, as of late. She was removed from the Flying Squad, a busy and high-energy job that she loved, and sent to a much smaller and less glamorous station instead. On the bright side, there are still crimes worth diving into.

The most recent murder on her radar is going to send her into the world of theatre itself, as she struggles to understand why the victim was targeted. This is anything but an easy case, with more complications that Tennison could have ever anticipated.

Jane Tennison is back, and that means she's dealing with another brutal crime. You've got to admit, even in her early days, this is a woman who had a talent for finding the most complex (and bloody) cases out there.

Blunt Force was another interesting read in this crime drama series, portraying a version of Tennison who is struggling to make a place for herself in an un-accepting (and male-dominated) career. It makes for a heavy read at times, and that's before taking the murder into account.

I've loved every book I've read from this series so far, but I'll admit that this is probably my least favorite of the bunch. There was something about it that just didn't draw me in, not like the rest did. Maybe that's just me, or the mood I was in. Maybe it's because Tennison felt like she was being especially hard on herself this time around (that or I was more sensitive to it).

On the bright side, the murder mystery itself was quite intriguing, and I really enjoyed watching Tennison and her coworker peel back the layers to reveal the truth. This was probably one of the more complex murders yet, thanks to everything else going on – and how much trouble they had gaining access to information.

In short, Blunt Force was every bit the police procedural fans can expect. It's dark and gritty, and not afraid to dive into the details of investigative work. It's perfect for fans who love that genre, though I'd also recommend checking out the rest of the series as well (Murder Mile being my favorite).
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A whole slew of suspects and a look at the seedy side of showbiz will leave you curious all the way through.   Well written with a ton of details and twists - it's exactly what you want in a police detective novel.  For me, it was a slow but entertaining read and I was surprised by the conclusion.   

My thanks to Netgalley for the complimentary title.  Thoughts are my own.
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Lydia La Plante knows how to write crime drama as it's obvious in this adrenaline driven story that will have you guessing until the end. Twisty and dark the answer to this thriller is just out of your reach. Brilliant. A must read. Happy reading!
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Blunt Force
Lynda LaPlante
August 25, 2020

Jane Tennison, police detective extraordinaire, was starting her first day in a small headquarters in Belgravia.  She had spent time with the Flying Squad and had done her best, yet for some unknown reason her boss DCI Murphy had downgraded her and taken her off the elite detective force.  She questioned herself wondering what had gone wrong.  She felt it might be time to start learning how to shoot a weapon rather than just researching them.  She signed up via Dabs, her pal from the squad and was to meet for her first lesson at the Surbiton Postal Rifle Club with instructor Elliott Norman.  There would be no mention of her training in Belgravia.  She would play it by ear in her new ‘residence’ trying to work into the department.  Good thoughts although her first week was hit with a horrendous murder discovery in the central part of London’s theatre world.  Her new partner, Spencer Gibbs was also on the welcome to Belgravia. 
The novel centers around Tennison, Gibbs and the particulars involving the case. The details were tangled amongst the family and coworkers of Charles Foxley, the movie producer, recently deceased.  The plot was filled with characters and how they were involved with Foxley’s killing. The author chronicled the cast with almost too much information.  This is my first Tennison mystery that I have read so I was not familiar with the plot twists she incorporates to readers who follow LaPlante’s Tennison series. The mystery itself was good just long to follow.  
Blunt Force by Lynda LaPlante is published tomorrow, August 25, 2020 by Simon and Schuster.
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I just love the Jane Tennison' series books, and the way Jane is portrayed as a kickarse detective that doesn't let go until she gets her man.  Recommended for anyone who loves a good read by a very talented author.
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Fans of Jane Tennison should note that this is set in 1983 and it's kind of a prequel, for want of a better word, to the Tennison we know.  She's working in an ordinary police station doing the ordinary things that a DS does.  Then, fortunately for her and unfortunately for him, Charlie Foxley is beaten to death with a cricket bat and the story takes off.  Foxley was a theatrical agent so he's done some dirty dealing with a variety of people and their egos.  Which one killed him?  No spoilers from me but there are, of course, lots of suspects.  This is a classic procedural which will sometimes remind you of the vast differences in crime solving in 1983 and today.  It's interesting to see a younger Jane feel her way through the politics, let alone the policing.  It does start a bit slowly but the plot is nicely complex. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  A good read.
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This British crime novel is billed as a thriller, but I would call it a police procedural. Detective Sergeant Jane Tennison (the character played by Helen Mirren in the old Prime Suspect television series that many of us loved) and another detective plus their squad track down the killer in the very brutal murder of a London talent agent who represents a lot of television actors. The agent had a complicated life and quite a few enemies. This book features a young Jane who has just turned thirty, years before the time in which the television series was set. I enjoyed the London setting and the character of Jane Tennison.

Disclosure - I received a digital ARC (Advance Review Copy) from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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