Demolition

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Pub Date 06 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2022

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Description

Secrets, lies, murder... and planning permission. Henry Christie is pulled into two chilling murder investigations and uncovers dark secrets dating back to the Second World War in this unflinching thriller.

Henry Christie is focused on running his pub, the Tawny Owl, where he learns of the Kendleton protest group's fury with James Twain, a local property developer, and the keen desire of some residents to solve a murder that stretches back to the Second World War.

When James is viciously killed in his barn, and another body is found in similar disturbing circumstances nearby, Henry is drawn into the investigations and the villagers' dark wartime secrets. Pulled out of retirement once more to lead a double murder inquiry for Lancashire police, can he uncover the truth behind chilling events both past and present?

Secrets, lies, murder... and planning permission. Henry Christie is pulled into two chilling murder investigations and uncovers dark secrets dating back to the Second World War in this unflinching...


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Average rating from 10 members


Featured Reviews

298 pages

4 and 1 / 2 stars

Henry Christie is a retired former superintendent with the Lancaster police force. He now is half owner of the Tawny Owl, a pub that is popular with the locals.

One evening, there is an altercation in the pub. James Twain, a property developer and wheeler-dealer, has fisticuffs with another local. Henry breaks it up then Twain goes after his wife, using abusive language. She puts a knife to his throat. Henry then bans the pair for life from the pub.

Twin’s wife shows up in the pub the next day covered in blood. At the same time Henry's former partner gets a call out to a murder, Henry goes along. It is James Twain, murdered in his garage by being beaten to death with a spanner.

Before long, another developer is murdered. Are the two connected? The methods were very different.

CCTV camera footage is revealing.

At the same time a group of oldsters meet at the pub to solves and eighty-year old murder. They draw in Henry and his partner. Also, an octogenarian named Veronica is being terrorized by local thugs. Henry arrives in time to save her from drowning. Her home is broken into and trashed. While in the hospital recovering from a heart attack, she tells Henry a horrible secret.

There is action galore in this story. Henry and his partner are dealing with several cases, primarily the two current murders. This is at the height of the covid pandemic and the force is decimated of personnel. It is only with the brilliant assistance from two sergeants from a local force, the headway is made in these cases.

I really like Henry and his partner. He is usually calm while his partner has a tendency to get very angry and say unfortunate things. But she is very colorful and adds a great deal to the story. I like the way Henry pretends to be reluctant to become involved in investigation, when secretly its an absolute thrill for him to be asked. This book has it all: shady developers, young thugs, WWI murders, current murders and an evil man who is beyond redemption.

I want to thank NetGalley and Severn House for forwarding to me a copy of this great book for me to read, enjoy and review. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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I would like to thank Netgalley and Severn House Publishers for an advance copy of Demolition, the thirtieth novel to feature retired Detective Superintendent Henry Christie.

Henry is back to running his pub, The Tawny Owl, in the Lancashire village of Kendleton, when local property developer, James Twain, is brutally murdered. The discovery of a second body with links to Twain leads Lancashire Police to asking Henry to investigate the murders. He soon finds that Twain had no shortage of enemies.

I thoroughly enjoyed Demolition, which is a straightforward police procedural with a good story and several twists, not least being the solving of some wartime and more recent local crimes while investigating the murders.

The novel is told from Henry’s point of view and he’s feeling, if not his age, his investigative rustiness. Fortunately for him his most recent working partner, Deb Blackstone, is there to keep him on his toes with her verbal jousting and investigative nous.

It is interesting the way the author weaves all his different strands and plot lines into an interconnecting whole. I think it is quite clever and it makes for an absorbing read. Comments from one case carry on to another and lead to breakthroughs and reveals, even leading in one case to more cases. I’d like to expand on these rather cryptic comments but that would involve spoilers, because most of the novel doesn’t make the synopsis. The novel isn’t rocket science in its solutions, but there’s so much going on it’s hard to find the time to guess the unknowns.

Demolition is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending.

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I know i'm going to read an entertaining and gripping story when I start a book by Nick Oldham featuring Nick Oldham.
There's darkness but there's also humour. There's a solid mystery that will kept me guessing and surprise with each twist.
Like this one
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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I have read none of the previous books by the author and I’m happy that I chose this novel.

I loved the writing, pace and characters.

A retired cold cases detective found himself in the middle of a crime investigation in a small location where he was running the village's pub.

From the first chapter, o got drawn in the conversation and the characters’ life. The banter in each scene was so on point and tell a story on its own. The romantic relationships are a big part of the story, especially since our main character is still heartbreak from his last girlfriend. A new relationship is making way to his heart and sight, but there's always something hidden underneath that wishful look. She is a well-known widow with family inheritance. It's only normal that her son will want to protect his mother for predators.

In comes the secondary characters that will bring more shiny to Henry’s arc development.

The investigation was so well done and while I had my theories on who the villain was, I still haven't seen some of the twist.

Fast-paced, suspenseful and a must read story.

🆓📖Very grateful to the publisher for my review copy

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Henry Christie is retired from the police force and running a pub in rural England. But as we know from Midsomer Murders, death occurs in the prettiest of places - in this case not one but two slightly unsavoury property dealers meet their end and Christie is asked to use his expertise to help the police, whilst becoming involved in the lives of the villagers themselves. His sidekick assisted is the slightly improbably but hugely entertaining 20-something punk policewoman Debbie Blackstone, whose presence produces the best scenes and writing. It reads easily with a clever and convoluted plot, but are we nearing the end of Henry Christie's career? The last few pages will surprise you.

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Henry is retired and running his pub but once again needs must when there's a murder and no one local to investigate, This long running series- not all of which I've read- is reliable for being carefully plotted and intriguing procedurally. And for the characters. Henry's last official partner, Deb, might sometimes speak without thinking but the two of them make a heck of a team. In this latest, of course there's a murder but there's also a case that reaches back to WWII. The,, ahem, mature patrons of the pub have insights that are useful in both. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A good read.

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I always look forward to a new Henry Christie book and this the twenty first was well worth waiting for.
Henry is no longer working in the police Cold Case dept. He is still smarting from being dumped by Diane Daniels a detective sergeant much younger than him. He is now engaged romatically with Maude a wealthy widow who has been keen on him for sometime, but Henry still has reservations.
The Tawny Owl is still busy but the village of Kendleton is experiencing damage by teenagers and it has the potential to get much worse. The village has an initiative to brighten up the area.
Some of the elderly residents are trying to solve an eighty year old murder that happened in the village, they are trying to coerce Henry to help. Ginny is still running the Pub/restaurant with minimum help from Henry!
When two villains are murdered, because of covid absences, Henry finds himself agreeing reluctantly to a request from his old friend Rik Dean, to be a Civilian Operator in charge of the murder investigations. It brings him into contact with his ex lover Diane and her new lover! However he is happy to work again with DS Debbie Blackstock and local PC. Jake Niven.
I find it easy to relate to Henry who finds it difficult to operate the way he did 10 - 15 years ago. Another brilliant book and very much looking forward to number 22 as unusually the book ends on a cliff hanger!.

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4.5 stars.

Apparently this the thirtieth book starring Henry Christie! I can assure you that it reads perfectly well as a stand alone, I didn’t feel as if I was missing any background. Henry Christie is a former DCI with the Lancashire police. These days he and his step daughter, Ginny, run the pub in the village of Kendleton. It is at the pub that a group old timers meet regularly to plan ways of stopping the development of a housing estate on the site of the burned out pub in the next village. They are also keen on re-investigating an 80 year old murder. Henry wishes them luck with that one!

When Cecilia Twain arrives there covered in blood, saying her husband has been murdered, Henry alerts the ‘real’ police and Ginny tries to soothe the widow while Henry rushes to secure the scene. There is only one local bobby these days and he is often called to Lancaster so Henry steps in. He finds the body as described but a person suited up in a white forensic suit is also there and takes potshots at him. Very strange indeed. Another death follows hot on the heals of the first one. A property developer, Marcus Durham, is shot dead in his pool. It seems both men had a number potential enemies.

Because of staff shortages due to COVID Henry is asked to return to the police as a consultant. This soon becomes a lot more as he is begged to take over the investigation of both murders as SIO. He just hopes he isn’t too rusty. He is partnered up with DS Debbie Blackstone and the verbal sparring between these two, who have worked together before, is very entertaining. There were plenty of other characters to like as well, notably 89 year old Veronica Gough - a feisty old lady who is targeted by teenage thugs.

There are now a lot of balls in the air - two current murders, the teen thugs, the 80 year old murder and, as Henry learns, two other 80 year old murders that no one knew about.

I enjoyed this book a lot. The writing was engaging, the characters well developed and the pacing was solid throughout although it did speed right up towards the end. This one finished with a killer twist (literally) which caught me completely unawares. However, like the previous book I read the title and the cover seemed a bit deceptive. I thought the book would be quite dark. And, while it did have some dark moments, a lot of it read like a (very good) cosy mystery. I can certainly recommend the book though. Many thanks to Netgalley and Severn House for the much appreciated arc which I reviewed voluntarily and honestly.

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Demolition by Nick Oldham.
Henry Christie is focused on running his pub, the Tawny Owl, where he learns of the Kendleton protest group's fury with James Twain, a local property developer, and the keen desire of some residents to solve a murder that stretches back to the Second World War. When James is viciously killed in his barn, and another body is found in similar disturbing circumstances nearby, Henry is drawn into the investigations and the villagers' dark wartime secrets. Pulled out of retirement once more to lead a double murder inquiry for Lancashire police, can he uncover the truth behind chilling events both past and present?
A really good read. Great story. Well written. 4*.

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Former Lancashire copper and now best-selling novelist Nick Oldham doesn't muck about. By the time you have read the first half dozen pages of his latest Henry Christie novel, we have had a gangster shot dead in his own swimming pool, another very rich but rather 'iffy' businessman bludgeoned to death with a huge spanner he has been using to rebuild a WW2 aircraft - and Henry himself dodging bullets.

High speed back story for new readers (Where have you been? This is book 30 in the series!) Henry Christie, former senior copper, now in his 50s, rather tragic 'love life', runs a pub in Kendleton on the Lancashire moors, frequently engaged by his former employers as a civilian investigator, usually involving crimes committed by local gangsters operating a kind of triangle-of-death between Preston, Blackpool and Fleetwood. No kiss-me-quick hats here, just deprivation, drugs and violence.

As has been customary in the recent novels, Christie is signed back on to help with the two murders - a perfectly plausible move by the Lancashire Constabulary, as  their staffing levels have taken a hit through Covid. Henry's police 'chaperone' is DS Deb Blackstone. She is a feisty and competent officer who just happens to dress like a slightly deranged Goth, with spiked pink hair and all the trimmings.

Our man has other things on his plate, too. One of the regular groups to meet in his pub rather like rural Lancashire's answer to The Thursday Murder Club, and the case they are currently working on is not so much cold as embedded in the permafrost. It concerns the murder of Lucas Grundy, back in 1941, and spice is added to the investigation by the fact that Eric, the murdered man's brother is still alive, albeit aged 100. Christie learns from an elderly woman in the village that she believes Eric Grundy raped her, many decades earlier, but the crime was never properly dealt with.

A couple of days before Lucas Grundy was murdered, a Heinkel bomber, damaged in a raid, crashed on the moors nearby. Three of the five-man crew died at the scene and were buried in the local churchyard, but nothing was ever found of the other two. Was it possible that they were somehow involved in Grundy's death, and how did they simply seem to disappear of the face of the earth?

As a humble reviewer, I can't begin to comprehend how Nick Oldham keeps so many sub plots going at the same time without the narrative collapsing in confusion. One metaphor, I suppose, is that of the plate-spinning juggler, who manages not to break any of the plates, but stacks them neatly one on top of the other at the end of his performance. Oldham rounds off the action with his customary inventiveness and panache, but be warned  - there is a particularly venomous sting in the tale. Demolition is published by Severn House, and is available now.

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