Books

Turnstone – Graham Hurley

Turnstone is the first book in Graham Hurley DI Joe Faraday series and sets the scene for all the subsequent novels; the characters and importantly for me as a reader the location, Portsmouth.

DI Joe Faraday knows that the job he does involves a lot of paper pushing but he does sometimes envy the Detective Sergeants on his team who get to go out there and get their hands dirty. When a small girl tells the police that her dad has gone missing, eventually Faraday gets to hear about the misper (the police procedural term) and relies on his hunch and detectives nose to realise that perhaps all is not what it seems. But hierarchy, media spin and lack of personnel means that time is running out on this case before it is pushed to one side.

Meanwhile one of his team, DS Winter takes another approach to detective work, minimum paperwork but maximum old style policing, informants, deals, bargains and crossing the line, if there ever was a line in the first place. Immediately you know that Winter is going to be a problem for Faraday and all concerned. But his wish to move on to the Drugs Squad puts him a rather embarrassing position. Will the result be the one that everyone wants?

What Hurley does best though is then throw in the fact that these detectives have personal lives and sometimes perhaps that is not as you expect. Faraday is in fact an avid bird watcher and is fascinated by the birds around the Langstone Harbour and Hurley describes this in a rather peaceful way. In fact as a Portsmouth resident his attention to the local detail is exactly spot on. This made the book more interesting for me.

This is a good introduction to a detective series and also to police procedure, acronyms and the internal language of the police force. Plenty of explanation to make it clear to the reader without coming across as condescending and it all backs up the plot as the inevitable twists and turns take place as they do in all good crime stories. If you need a new detective crime series to get into then do give this one a go.

Looking back through my book journal I see I read a trio of these in 2009. I have no idea why I it has taken until 2012 to read another one. (Well I do know, but it was a rhetorical passing question!) I started actually reading book 4 of the series Deadlight, then 5 Cut to Black and stopped at 6 Blood and Honey. I think my reasoning was to fill in the first three and then carry on. Well one down two to go which I will seek out at my local library.

I find it quite strange reading a novel that is set in my home city and surrounding areas. Graham Hurley lived in Portsmouth for over twenty years and he has captured everything so clearly. Time has moved on since this first novel was published in 2000 but in some cases not much, the description of some of the poorer areas of the city are sadly still true and crime is a problem and is still reported in the local paper on a frequent basis.

Through catching up on this reading I have discovered that Hurley has brought the DI Faraday series to an end. (Apparently another detective will take over) So I have a few more to catch up on, I am hoping this time it will not take me three years before I pick up the next one. In fact as I have challenged myself to take part in the Crime Fiction Alphabet, the next book could cover Letter G?

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3 thoughts on “Turnstone – Graham Hurley

  1. It sounds like he might be a sort of Portsmouth version of Ian Rankin, I must look out for him. I really like it when I know the locations in books.

    1. i picked up my first Rankin book last week. Will be good to read about another city.

      Next time I read a Hurley I might go and take pictures of what he is describing.

  2. Absolutely love the Faraday and Winter series and Turnstone is the book I chose for this month’s book group. Good to read your comments. Not quite so sold on the Jimmy Suttle series but maybe I should reread

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