Dead Lands is a thrilling crime story set in the 1970s. When a woman’s body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alexander Troy is arrested for the murder. Desperate to remain a free man, Troy protests his innocence, but refuses to use his alibi. Trying to protect the woman he loves becomes a dangerous game – questions are asked and suspicions deepen. When the prime suspect completes a daring escape from custody, DI Breck and DS Kearns begin the hunt. Breck wants out of the force while Kearns has her own agenda and seeks revenge. Breck has his suspicions and she wants to keep it from him, and a right-wing march provides an explosive backdrop to their hunt for Troy. Dead Lands is the thrilling debut of award winning short story writer Lloyd Otis, and intelligently covers issues of race, discrimination and violence in a changing 70s landscape.
Dead Lands was published on the 12th October. Many thanks to Urbane for having me on the blog tour and providing me with my copy of the book for this review.
Lloyd Otis is definitely one to watch as this is a fantastic debut, Otis is carving his own niche into the crime fiction world with his wonderful writing style and realistic, well formed characters.
What I loved most about this book was its setting, Otis takes us back to the late 1970’s whereby the police have to rely upon investigation, gut instinct and other not so politically correct techniques rather than having technology to help draw out theories and potential suspects.
Dead Lands starts with a powerful opening chapter that sets the tone for the rest of the book – there is a sadistic killer at work who seemingly makes a mistake by leaving personal effects at the murder scene. But is all as it seems – further confusion occurs when someone else steps forward as ‘Alexander Troy’….so who is the real Alexander Troy and is he actually the murderer they are after?
This is a complex story which is blended together with Otis’ great writing style, combining the realities of 1970’s policing alongside some humorous moments.
DI Breck and DS Kearns are a great duo, both dedicated to the cause however both have their own personal demons. Whilst Breck is quite open with his partner’s issues following a violent attack, Kearns has a past that she’s not wishing to share which leads to her seeming shifty at points during the book, brilliantly adding another layer to the investigation.
The murder investigation is set against the racial tension building up due to the impending right-wing march. I’m too young (not often I get to say that!) to know whether the actual events and the unpolitically correctness is an accurate portrayal but it definitely has an air of authenticity throughout the book which results in this being a great read. So much so that I hope that there is more to come from Breck and Kearns.
Lloyd was born in London and attained a BA (Hons) in Media and Communication. After gaining several years of valuable experience within the finance and digital sectors, he completed a course in journalism. Lloyd has interviewed a host of bestselling authors, such as Mark Billingham, Hugh Howey, Kerry Hudson, and Lawrence Block. Two of his short stories were selected for publication in the ‘Out of My Window’ anthology, and he currently works as an Editor.