Book Review: The Promised Land, by Barry Maitland

Brock and Kolla return in a murder mystery that pits them against each other.

The 13th novel about Brock and Kolla is a stand-alone page turner that will make you want to go back and read the rest of the series.

Born in Scotland, Barry Maitland is an Australian author who is best known for his Brock and Kolla novels. He has won several awards including The Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Fiction. This is number 13 in the series.

Brock has now retired and Kolla is the new Detective Chief Inspector. Kolla is investigating two brutal murders on Hamstead Heath but Brock is soon pulled into the investigation by the lawyer of John Pettigrew, who has been arrested for the murders. Brock can’t resist. There is also a manuscript, possibly worth millions, up for grabs. Is it what it is purported to be or is it a fake? Does this have anything to do with the murders and how are they tied together? Why did they both occur near water? Brock soon finds himself in the centre of the mystery and up against Kolla to prove the innocence of Pettigrew.

This mystery is easy to read and hard to put down. Maitland keeps the reader hanging on till the very end, through multiple twists and turns. Just when you think you know the how and why, a new red herring is thrown into the mix. The reader is tantalised by bits of information and needs to sort through the truths and untruths. Even when you know who did it, the why is even more ingenious.

Maitland’s characters are fleshed out believable people and even if you haven’t read the previous 12 novels in this series, you feel drawn to Brock and Kolla and have an understanding of what they have been through in the past. They are likeable and have a believable chemistry. Through their eyes, we are drawn into their world and we find ourselves sorting through the information with them. Who is telling the truth?  What have we missed?

The Promised Land is written in the third person and the reader is able to become part of their world. The novel is fast-paced and has an economy of words that makes you want to keep reading: you don’t need to wade through pages of descriptive passages. If you have not read the previous novels in this series, by the time you have finished this one you will want to run to your local bookshop or library and request the previous 12 books. Maitland is deserving of his accolades.

If you love crime fiction, this book is definitely for you.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Allen & Unwin
Released: January 2019
RRP: $29.99

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