Book 1 of a series by British author, Chris Collett, which ticks all the boxes. 5-Stars.

Deadly Lies (aka The Worm in the Bud) is the first in an eight-book series by British author, Chris Collett. The novels feature Detective Inspector Tom Mariner and are set in Birmingham and the surrounding area. 

The Detective
On the surface, Mariner is your-average dedicated policeman. But his experiences as a younger man have given him an insight into the darker side of life and a clear sense of right and wrong.

He has little interest in material things, living in a modest canal-side cottage, driving an old car and enjoying an occasional (real) beer and game of dominoes. He is most at home in the outdoors, with an OS map and a compass, and in times of crisis he will take off and walk for miles in any weather.

The story
Journalist Eddie Barham is found dead in his home. A syringe is in his arm and there’s a note by his side which reads: “No more”. At first glance this could be suicide, but DI Mariner is sceptical because just a few hours before, he saw Barham picking up a woman in a bar and the scene looks just a little too staged.

Then Mariner discovers Barham’s younger brother, Jamie, hiding in a cupboard under the stairs. Jamie is the only witness to his brother’s death, but his severe autism makes communication almost impossible. Mariner is determined to connect with Jamie and get to the truth. Eddie had been investigating a local crime kingpin, so is his death related to that?

Eddie had been Jamie’s main carer and Jamie’s autism makes it difficult for him to relate to anyone else, except the workers at the day centre he attends. With Eddie dead, his sister, Anna, has to step in to look after Jamie, even though she’s had only minimum contact with him until now as she’s been following her own career path.

Mariner finds himself very attracted to Anna and struggles to keep his relationship with her professional. As the investigation into Eddie’s death gets more complex and more urgent, Mariner has his work cut out to prevent other deaths.

In summary
I thought this was a clever and complex plot, and I found it absorbing from page one. I really liked the characters, particularly Tom Mariner. Chris Collett is strong on atmosphere and she gives very detailed descriptions of Birmingham and the surrounding area which make the story really come to life. So much so, in fact, that I found it useful to have a map to hand so I could refer to it as needed! I shall certainly be reading the rest of this series, and I give this book 5-Stars.
Review by: Eve