After seeing fellow blogger Annie @ The Misstery give this book five stars, I picked up a copy from the library. Several renewals later, I finally read it, and let me tell you, I should have read it immediately!
From the creator of the award-winning ITV series Prime Suspect, starring Helen Mirren, comes the fascinating back story of the iconic DCI Jane Tennison.
In 1973 Jane Tennison, aged 22, leaves the Metropolitan Police Training Academy to be placed on probationary exercise in Hackney where criminality thrives. We witness her struggle to cope in a male-dominated, chauvinistic environment, learning fast to deal with shocking situations with no help or sympathy from her superiors. Then comes her involvement in her first murder case.
Let me start off this review by saying – yes to the plot, yes to the characters, yes to all that Tennison is! What a brilliant novel! Despite being over 500 pages in length, I flew through this novel; if you usually feel overwhelmed by bigger books, don’t be put off by the page length, Tennison is such an easy and enjoyable read, you’ll glide through its pages. Tennison is what I like to call “a ‘proper’ police procedural” – it focuses, in detail, on the police investigation; it’s fleshed out in such a way, it’s like a TV series in a book. If you enjoy TV shows such as Line of Duty and Whitechapel, then I highly recommend you give this novel a read.
I’ve never watched Prime Suspect, so this was my first introduction to Jane Tennison, and I think she’s a fantastic character. At only 22 years old, I love how LaPlante displayed her naivety, as a ‘newbie’ in the police force, learning the ropes, you can’t help but be supportive of her. Both personally and professionally, we see Tennison develop in maturity and learn some harsh lessons, and I can’t wait to see her character developed further in the rest of the series. She’s extremely likeable, and I particularly enjoyed her friendship with fellow WPC Kathy Morgan; as females in a male dominated police force, they have the additional battle of not only proving themselves as police officers but proving that as a woman they can do this job.
The cases featured in this novel were high in the “reality-factor” – in fact, every element of this book breathes believability. This novel in set in 1973 and I can believe the police force and methods of investigation were portrayed accurately, especially in terms of the colloquial terms used; and it was a nice change to see an investigation unaffected by social media. I get particularly excited when novels are set in East London, as I grew up there – although not in Hackney where this novel is set, I am familiar with many of the street names used, for me, this added to the element of realism.
Another highlight of this novel was its ending, just when I thought LaPlante was winding things down, I turned the page and ‘bang’ – plot twist! The storyline was concluded and left me eager to see what’s next for Tennison, and I, for one, am really looking forward to seeing her come into her own. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of book 2 – Hidden Killers, and continue this series!