No Sweet Sorrow (DCI Daley #11) by Denzil Meyrick @lochlomonden @PolygonBooks

Source: Review copy
Publication: 1 June 2023 from Birlinn
PP: 400
ISBN-13: 978-1846976377

My thanks to Denzil Meyrick and Polygon for an advance copy for review

A potent new drug has hit the streets of Kinloch, and DCI Daley and Scott are struggling to catch the notorious gang behind this evil trade.
After a party of Oxford students arrives in town for a camping trip before a Himalayan expedition, one of the group seeks out an illegal high and is violently assaulted. However, these students are well connected, and this brings further unexpected problems for Daley. Ultimately, he and Scott will discover crimes as disturbing in nature as anything they have ever confronted.

I’m always surprised by how real Kinloch feels to me. I can see the fishing boats in the water; I am sure I’ve drunk in the County Hotel with its dark wood and swirling red carpet, and of course the stunning countryside and coastline can’t be bettered.

But what I really like about Kinloch is that it is never idealised. Denzil Meyrick’s fictional town suffers from all the same ails as any place and feels them perhaps more acutely because of its sense of community. These novels always deal with the contemporary issues that afflict all of us, wherever we live. I think that’s why they work so well for me; this is no cosy crime series. Rather it highlights the crime we face on a day to day basis and brings the impact of those crimes closer precisely because we have got to know elements of this community so well.

In No Sweet Sorrow, the 11th in this outstanding series, a group of Oxford University students have come to Kinloch to hone their mountaineering skills and teamwork prior to embarking on a Himalayan climb.

Being from Oxford, there is at least one insufferably snotty student and more than one set of well-connected parents. The students are having a high old time until one of their group is violently assaulted. It appears that drugs are at the core of this assault. Kinloch is not immune from the scourge of drug dealing and being on the coast, has had its fair share of smuggling too. This case is destined to become even darker and more demanding of police time and this will add to the general air of impending doom that seems to be hanging over Kinloch.

DCI Jim Daley is grumpier than usual. His back is giving him gyp, and he’s needed to keep a closer watch than usual on DS Brian Scott, who is now drinking in The Last Chance Saloon, though Ella has, in her own inimitable fashion, found the perfect way to keep an eye on him. The ACC is less than enamoured with the recent goings on in the Kinloch station and one of the team is very unhappy – all of which adds to Jim’s unsettled dourness.

Jim Daley isn’t the only one who is unsettled either – Hamish feels an oppressive weight on his shoulders and his depressed demeanour is forcing him into making life changing decisions. He knows all is not well in Kinloch – he can feel it – and we all know that Hamish’s gloomy predictions are ignored at the risk of peril.

Each of these elements could offer a recipe that feels too dark, but the interactions between the characters intersperse the gloom and lift the narrative; Meyrick allows us to sense the deep-rooted connections among the characters in this close knit community and that raises the spirits. The banter between Brian, Ella and Jim is as priceless as ever and that, coupled with the ever delightful joy that comes with Brian Scott trying once again to deal with his fear of getting on a boat, brings some much needed light relief to shine a light through the winter gloom.

Verdict: No Sweet Sorrow creates a dark and suspenseful atmosphere into which Meyrick weaves multiple storylines, each with its own unique twists and turns, resulting in a louring, emotive narrative which is both complex and gripping. The tension is palpable and the strain on Daley feels all too real. It’s not easy being a an under-resourced police officer these days and it’s taking its toll.

Tense, exciting, rooted in the very real issues faced by rural communities, No Sweet Sorrow will keep you guessing ‘til the end. Reader, I inhaled it!

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Denzil Meyrick is one of Scotland’s biggest-selling crime writers. He hails from Campbeltown and life has taken him from studying politics to a varied career including time spent as a police officer, freelance journalist and director of several companies in the leisure, engineering and marketing sectors. His global best-sellers include the D.C.I. Daley thrillers and much-loved stand alone novellas. Denzil lives on Loch Lomondside.

Published by marypicken

Passionate book reader. Love all kind of books from 19th century novels to crime thrillers. My blog is predominantly crime, psychological thrillers and police procedurals with a good helping of literary fiction thrown in.

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