Nothing to Hide

Nothing to Hide

The new book in the brilliant Constance Fairchild series, from one of Scotland's foremost crime writers. 'THE NEW IAN RANKIN' Daily Record 'OSWALD'S WRITING IS A CLASS ABOVE' Express Suspended from duty after her last case ended in the high-profile arrest of one of Britain's wealthiest men, DC Constance Fairchild is trying to stay away from the limelight. Fate has oth...

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Title:Nothing to Hide
Author:James Oswald
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Nothing to Hide Reviews

  • Paromjit

    James Oswald's new series featuring DC Constance Fairchild has a barnstorming new addition with Con still suspended after the fallout from the 1st book, and returning to London to provide input into the trial of the hugely powerful and wealthy Roger DeVilliers and the corrupt Detective Superintendent Gordon Bailey, responsible for the murder of her old boss. Con has the forlorn hope that she will have ceased to be of interest to the tabloid gutter press, only to find their intense rabid scrutiny

    James Oswald's new series featuring DC Constance Fairchild has a barnstorming new addition with Con still suspended after the fallout from the 1st book, and returning to London to provide input into the trial of the hugely powerful and wealthy Roger DeVilliers and the corrupt Detective Superintendent Gordon Bailey, responsible for the murder of her old boss. Con has the forlorn hope that she will have ceased to be of interest to the tabloid gutter press, only to find their intense rabid scrutiny fails to diminish as they doorstep her wherever she may be. As she puts out the trash, she discovers the barely alive body of a young black man, with his tongue and testicles removed. The arrival of DCI Ed Bain of the NCA who is miffed at her involvement, has her learning there have been other male bodies all round the country, all dead, with similar MOs including the removal of hearts.

    Con finds herself an unpopular figure with the other cops, hostile at the part she played bringing down one of their own but begins to develop a tentative relationship with DC Karen Eve, a woman with ambitions of joining the NCA. Con cannot let what happened to Daniel Jones go as he lies in hospital, and as she continues to make the front pages of the tabloid press as the 'posh cop', she takes off for Edinburgh, where Jones grew up to find out more about him. She stays with Madame Rose, slightly bewildered by odd incidents and finds herself coincidentally bumping into Constable Janie Harrison, and invited to view another dead male body with connections to the NCA investigation. The wedding of Con's brother, Ben, and Charlotte is a source of friction as Ben absolutely refuses to have the Church of the Coming Light Reverend Dr Edward Masters officiate over his marriage as his mother desires. As Con meticulously follows all leads, she has little idea of the horrifying nightmare of darkness and danger she is to find herself in.

    With Oswald, you just know the supernatural will play a part, particularly with the inclusion of Madame Rose and what we learn here about Con's favourite neighbour, Mrs Feltham who has taken Con under her protective wing. Con is a great character, determined, a tough cookie, becoming ever less estranged from her family, and whilst the police force in general fails to recognise her abilities, this is not the case with the NCA's Superintendent Diane Shepherd. This was a fantastic read, totally engrossing, fast paced and totally compulsive. Cannot wait for the next in the series! Many thanks to Headline for an ARC.

  • Emma

    DC Constance Fairchild is back in London… and back in trouble. Or maybe still in trouble, it’s hard to tell. It’s bad enough that her suspension’s not been lifted, that she’s on the receiving end of serious attitude from other police for rocking the boat, and that the gutter press won’t leave her alone, but now there’s a crime scene right outside her flat. She’s been told to leave it, to keep a low profile, but after finding some poor boy dying beneath the rubbish, she’s not about to let that st

    DC Constance Fairchild is back in London… and back in trouble. Or maybe still in trouble, it’s hard to tell. It’s bad enough that her suspension’s not been lifted, that she’s on the receiving end of serious attitude from other police for rocking the boat, and that the gutter press won’t leave her alone, but now there’s a crime scene right outside her flat. She’s been told to leave it, to keep a low profile, but after finding some poor boy dying beneath the rubbish, she’s not about to let that stand. Especially when she discovers that he’s far from the first. But she has no idea that this is an investigation that’s going to take her to the darkest of places, a fight for her very survival…

    Firstly, let me say that I’ve never read James Oswald before, but this is the kind of book that immediately adds the author’s entire back catalogue to your TBR. It was that good. A proper read-it-in-a-day, can’t put it down experience that had me flying through one section so fast I had to go back and do it again.

    Secondly, Con Fairchild is TROUBLE. This woman is a magnet for danger. Or bad luck. Or something. But what I love about her characterisation is that none of this is brought about by stupidity. Daring, sure. Determination to find out what’s going on, definitely. A serious disregard for following the rules or doing what she’d told by her superiors…. er… ok yeah. She ticks all the boxes for the best kind of (fictional) detectives: clever, capable, little bit maverick, little bit snarky. Actually, double tick that snarky box. I loved her. I can’t remember the last time I fell for a new crime series so hard.

    But what makes this book so excellent is that it doesn’t rely on the main character to hold it all up. There’s an entire collection of interesting people who feel real and present and relatable, from the kindly yet mysterious neighbour to Con’s police colleagues, near and far. And this is where things get interesting because there’s a bit of crossover here with James Oswald’s Edinburgh series and it seems like it might be a bit supernatural?? Full of dangerous and dark things?? If so... Sign. Me. Up. There’s a touch of that here too and I’m all for it. In a genre where everything has to be explained, it’s fun to have a hint of the inexplicable. And there are cats, so obviously there’s magic involved.

    As for the plot, it’s well done but not entirely surprising. I have a suspicious mind and there are a few things early on that set those bells jangling. There were a few times I had to give the book a serious talking to because, as anyone who reads or watches thrillers should know, some types of people are inherently dodgy and Constance really should have been investigating this particular avenue more thoroughly from the moment she saw them..... Sadly the characters have to follow the rules of real life and not fiction, so my interjections were in vain. But thankfully Con doesn’t slack, she works the case one piece of evidence at a time, always pushing, never letting up. She might get herself in trouble, but she gets herself out too. Watching her get chewed out by her boss every time she ends up in the middle of something or somewhere she's not supposed to be reminded me of every classic cop show and book I've ever seen or read. And I mean that in a good way. It brings a smile to my face writing about it now. She's the archetypal troublemaker and it works. Whatever difficulties she finds herself in next, I’m there for it. In the meantime, looks like I have 9 Inspector McLean books to catch up on…

    ARC via Netgalley

  • Mary Picken

    More and more this series is feeling like it’s my happy place. Not, I hasten to add, because it is all sweetness and light; far from it. But I love James Oswald’s characters and in the Con Fairchild novels he’s got all the ingredients for a cracking crime novel with a difference and when he mixes them together he gets the balance and texture spot on.

    Con Fairchild is Lady Constance Fairchild, though her title is not something she would dream of using. The tabloids refer to her as ‘the Posh Cop’ e

    More and more this series is feeling like it’s my happy place. Not, I hasten to add, because it is all sweetness and light; far from it. But I love James Oswald’s characters and in the Con Fairchild novels he’s got all the ingredients for a cracking crime novel with a difference and when he mixes them together he gets the balance and texture spot on.

    Con Fairchild is Lady Constance Fairchild, though her title is not something she would dream of using. The tabloids refer to her as ‘the Posh Cop’ ever since she uncovered a web of corruption which led to the murder of her old boss.

    She’s been suspended since then, awaiting her opportunity to testify at the trial of wealthy businessman Roger De Villiers and D.S. Gordon Bailey who between them ran a murky business empire.

    Con isn’t all that popular with some members of her own force, either, Cops died in the final fall out that Con was at the heart of and that won’t be forgotten for a very long time. So she’s returned home to her cold and stark London flat, where she does her best to avoid the journalists that seem to be dogging her every footstep.

    She’s hardly back before she discovers a young black man by the bins behind her flat, badly injured, his tongue and testicles removed. DCI Bain of the NCA doesn’t want Con involved because of her profile and her suspension, but what she has stumbled on belongs squarely to an active investigation Bain is leading, dealing with similar bodies, except that these were all dead.

    Con, aptly named for such a dogged, determined woman, needs to know what happened to this young man and a chance encounter with a young woman elicits a name, at least, before the woman runs off. To avoid the press and make herself useful, Bain agrees that she should go and talk to the young man’s mother, who lives in Edinburgh.

    On her way she calls in home and stays with her Aunt Felicity. Her brother Ben is getting married to Charlotte shortly and Con needs to tell her mother that she won’t be attending. The last thing Charlotte and Ben need is a bunch of paps turning up at their wedding in search of the ‘Posh cop’ and her family.

    Her mother introduces her to an imposing figure, The Reverend Dr Edward Masters of the Church of the Coming Light. She knows their name because she has seen them taking some of the homeless and drug addicts off the streets in London, near where she lives.

    In Edinburgh, she stays with the delightful, mysterious Madame Rose, who as ever is able to anticipate her every need and it isn’t long before she becomes embroiled in another dead body case with remarkably similar hallmarks.

    Con can smell the evil that’s surrounding these bodies and she’s got a pretty good idea where it’s coming from. The only question is whether she can stay alive long enough to solve the case and bring the perpetrator to justice.

    Nothing to Hide can be read as a stand-alone as sufficient backstory is given, but with such a new series, I’d start from the beginning to get the whole picture. We’re learning more about Con as the story develops and she’s beginning to take shape a lot more clearly in my mind now, as I learn things about her personal characteristics as well as her attitudes and friendships.

    Con is lucky to have made a tentative friendship with DC Karen Eve, as both women are likely to join the National Crime Agency and I hope we will see them working together more in future books in the series. One of Con’s drawbacks to date has been her isolation; the difficulty she has in making friends and having someone with whom to share theories and ideas, so a permanent friendship or sidekick would be a boon for her. I liked Con’s neighbour Mrs Feltham, and a new character, Superintendent Diane Shepherd is shaping up to be really interesting! I must say that Oswald does write his women characters well.

    I really enjoy the sense of something other worldly that imbues these books; just out of reach of explanation, never tangible enough to grasp, but there in plain sight, all the same. The ambiguity of dealing with ritualistic crimes and looking for legal justice leads to a fascinating and utterly compelling tension that keeps the reader transfixed.

    Verdict: Great characters, a complex murder investigation within a well layered plot with lots of action and some cracking, disturbing, moments. I loved Nothing to Hide.

  • T. K. Elliott (Tiffany)

    I really, really wanted to love this. James Oswald is one of my favourite authors, and although I didn’t enjoy the first Con Fairchild book as much as his Inspector McLean series, I hoped that this second Con Fairchild book would be different.

    It wasn’t, only more so.

    I shall therefore attempt to unpack why this is a three-star review for a book by someone I consider to be a five-star author.

    Con Fairchild, the main character, is from a rich aristocratic family: she’s actually Lady Consta

    I really, really wanted to love this. James Oswald is one of my favourite authors, and although I didn’t enjoy the first Con Fairchild book as much as his Inspector McLean series, I hoped that this second Con Fairchild book would be different.

    It wasn’t, only more so.

    I shall therefore attempt to unpack why this is a three-star review for a book by someone I consider to be a five-star author.

    Con Fairchild, the main character, is from a rich aristocratic family: she’s actually Lady Constance Fairchild. She is also a detective constable in the Metropolitan Police; in the last book, she was instrumental in breaking up a ring of corrupt police in her own unit. Now she’s suspended from duty and pretty much all her colleagues dislike her. This dislike is supposed to be because of what she did, but to be honest, the way she’s written, it comes across far more as if Con Fairchild is the kind of colleague whom, while you wouldn’t wish them to die in a fire, if you heard they’d been involved in a tragic accident you wouldn’t lose much sleep over it.

    Con Fairchild is supposed to be a strong, independent woman, a maverick who goes her own way. To me, she comes across as a spoilt, entitled little rich girl playing at being ‘one of the people’ to annoy her family. Despite being 30 years old, she also comes across as rather immature: possibly because so much of what she does is directed against her family, and partly due to her admitted lack of desire for responsibility.

    Other characters don’t really get much page-time. PC Karen Eve is back, and I expect she will be a fixture in the series. To honest, I think that will be a good thing – part of the reason Con seems so self-absorbed, I think, is because she doesn’t have a sidekick/friend. Not only does having a friend to relax with make a character seem less uptight, but it also performs the valuable narrative function of allowing the main character to discuss her ideas. Con doesn’t, at present, have that, which probably contributes to her seeming stand-offish.

    There are also hints that other characters will become more important – Superintendent Diane Shepherd and DCI Ed Bain (a side note – I wonder if Oswald has read the Dan Shephard and Ed McBain books?) are promising, although in this book they only flitted on and off the page.

    To be honest, I could live with Con’s tiresomeness if the plot had been as exciting/dark/weird as Oswald’s McLean books. Unfortunately, Con is not in McLean’s league in any respect. She doesn’t appear to be much of an investigator – she spends much of the book wandering around aimlessly, occasionally stumbling into a clue. She also goes to a family wedding and two funerals, and stays with family friends. At no point did she seem to really care about the murders she was allegedly investigating (or indeed about her job).

    The plot… lacked. I kept waiting for Con to start acting instead of reacting, or actually investigating – about the most investigative thing she did was to watch some CCTV footage. Even the grand finale isn’t due to anything she did, but due to her wandering aimlessly and then having the narrative equivalent of a piano fall on her head.

    When Con does stumble across a clue, she often doesn’t follow it up – on several occasions, she notices something important, and I expected that the next scene would show her investigating further – but she never did.

    Mostly this is set in London, although you can’t really tell. It’s obvious that for Oswald, Scotland is where his heart lives; London is just somewhere on the map. If you’re paying attention, you can tell the difference in the narrative: London gets just enough description so you know the action isn’t taking place in a black room, like a minimalist play with no scenery. However, when the action shifts to Edinburgh, you get a breeze blowing across the Firth of Forth and ‘traditionally Scottish ornate cornicework’.

    The fact that I finished this book at all, and until near the end was contemplating giving it four stars is a testament to Oswald’s skill as a writer. I don’t like Con Fairchild, but the story kept me going until close to the end – it was only then, and when I sat down to think about what I’d read, that the weaknesses became apparent.

    If you’ve never read any of Oswald’s books before, this is not a good place to start – not only is this not the first in the series (although it will stand alone) but the McLean books are a much better display of the author’s talent.

    Will I carry on? I honestly don’t know. I hope that this series gets better; I wonder if some of the weaknesses come from the difficulty inherent in trying to write a police procedural when the main character isn’t on active duty for most of the book, especially with a main character who seems to have no friends to interact with.

    In short, I think Con Fairchild could learn a lot from Tony McLean!

  • Kate

    I'm a huge fan of James Oswald's McLean novels and I also enjoyed the first Fairchild novel. The characters and the writing in Nothing to Hide are as good as ever but I found that they weren't really backed up by the plot, which never seemed to get going. It's slow-moving and bitty, with the best moments preserved for Con's brief stay in Edinburgh. Con doesn't seem to do very much, she just gets in the way. But, as I say, fine writing as always and how fabulous to see Madame Rose again! Review t

    I'm a huge fan of James Oswald's McLean novels and I also enjoyed the first Fairchild novel. The characters and the writing in Nothing to Hide are as good as ever but I found that they weren't really backed up by the plot, which never seemed to get going. It's slow-moving and bitty, with the best moments preserved for Con's brief stay in Edinburgh. Con doesn't seem to do very much, she just gets in the way. But, as I say, fine writing as always and how fabulous to see Madame Rose again! Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.

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