Closure by Larry Quartley
I review a great many books and am asked to review a great many more. So when Larry Quartley asked me to review his debut crime novel, I was happy to slot it into my list. Quartley is a British author who was born in the county of Hertfordshire, England just North of London. His has not been a traditional route to becoming a novelist. He previously worked for a blue-chip Pharmaceutical company always wanted to write crime fiction. However, when his company moved the author was offered early retirement and did so. Quartley began to read widely, and to write daily.
The result is Closure, the first in the Detective Zachary Taylor series. The opening chapter of Closure creates tension and sets up the rest of the story. Closure is full of action with the right amount of pace, excitement and intrigue, which will keep most crime fiction lovers happy. The lead character, DCI Zachary Taylor, is different because the reader sees and feels his fear and emotions and, despite his past failings, he is not overly loaded with baggage. He moves through the investigation, getting closer to his target with each unfolding chapter.
In Closure, Taylor is shown as a detective who cannot let go of the past nor the part he played in the death of his old DCI. While he is investigating the brutal rape and murder of a young woman, whose death pulls the past into the present. In 2003 Detective Chief Inspector Charlie Benner was gunned down when he was caught up in a shooting frenzy between rival drug gangs. Zachary Taylor was among the first to arrive at the bloodbath. Although Taylor worked the case he was unable to secure a conviction so his chief suspect, James Black and any other guilty parties remained free and the case remained unsolved.
Seven years later, Taylor is investigating the rape and murder of Stella Kerr. Stella’s boyfriend, Steve Lamb, is charged with the murder but he has gone on the run. Taylor quickly learns that there is a connection to the past and James Black. Taylor believes the same dark forces responsible for the slaying of his Benner in 2003 are behind the drug fueled murder of Stella Kerr. Closure proceeds to become a compelling novel.
The characters, for me, are a strong point of Closure. Taylor is an excellent protagonist and Black is very well drawn as a thoroughly arrogant man. Another great character is Allan Devere, the drug lord. The author also carefully gives each character their own voice and accents. I liked this a lot.
However,there are a number of frustrations with the text. Closure would benefit from a thorough dose of editing. To tighten up the story and eliminate spelling and punctuation errors. However, Closure is a compelling debut novel with a lot of promise. I recommend this book and look forward to Larry Quartley’s next book in the Zachary Taylor series.