Reviewed by: Keith Nixon
Genre: Detective / Mystery
Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words
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Nick Quantrill was born and raised in the industrial English city of Hull. He’s a prolific short story writer but has also produced two full-length crime novels with protagonist PI Joe Geraghty. A third is in process.
For more information on Nick go to his website.
New Holland were one of the most successful bands of the 90’s until they broke up in acrimonious circumstances. But now, they’re back. Joe Geraghty PI, against his better judgement, takes what should be a simple job for their manager Kane Major, liaising between the band and a journalist with exclusive access to them.
Then the lead singer and band’s engine, Greg Tasker, disappears and Geraghty is under pressure to find him before it’s too late.
This is a story that gets better and better as it proceeds. Initially the premise looks simple enough, lead singer and lynchpin of New Holland has disappeared. Without him the band cannot exist and their guarded manager, Major, is increasingly desperate for Tasker to be found. Joe soon tracks him down, unfortunately he’s been murdered.
As more revelations about Tasker and the band occur, Joe finds himself deeper and deeper into trouble with less and less control over events. With it, The Late Greats becomes an increasingly complex and intriguing story – the reader becomes more involved as Joe does. It’s subtly done and turns into a real page turner as all the story strands are brought together.
The characters are very good. Joe is still haunted by the death of his wife. At heart a good guy who wants to do the best by people, whatever trouble that ultimately brings him. Kane Major is at the opposite end of the scale, someone who only looks out for himself and pushes Joe hard despite his reservations. There’s also the reporter, Julia Gowans, who’s somewhere between the two and is somewhat of an enigma until the end. Finally Trevor Bilton, local hard nut, and a cast of supporting characters, each with a piece of the jigsaw in their hands.
The action is located in Hull, an industrial town in Northern England where the author lives. Not your typical place for a novel but Quantrill paints it well and uses the landscape, whether it’s the city itself or windswept bleak countryside, as an effective backdrop.
If you like slow-burn, intelligent detective fiction, track down Quantrill’s Geraghty novels.
A small amount of adult language.
A small amount of repeat wording.
Rating: **** Four Stars