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Every village has its eccentrics. In Norbold, England, it's Gabriel Ash, known locally as Rambles with Dog. Usually speaking only to his therapist and his dog, Patience, Ash is, at best, an unreliable witness to a beating in a police holding cell. Law student Jerome Cardy's last words I had a dog once. Othello were spoken to Ash. The party line is that Cardy was in the wrong place at the wrong time, beaten to death by a violent cellmate. It's only new police recruit Hazel Best who believes Ash when he says that Cardy told him he was going to die in that police station. Against the advice of the revered chief superintendent, John Fountain, Best investigates and finds ties to Nobold's last-standing Mob boss and Fountain's nemesis, Mickey Argyle. Ash is a broken man whose body keeps shuffling along even though his heart and soul were crushed years ago. His heartbreaking backstory is cleverly teased out over the course of the novel. Bannister departs from her Brodie Farrell mysteries (Liars All, 2010) in this captivating stand-alone thriller.--Keefe, Karen Copyright 2010 Booklist
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Hazel Best is a rookie cop in Norbold, England. Gabriel Ash is a grief-stricken man who may hold the key to a man's death, but who talks only to his assistance dog. The odds that they can solve a murder seem slim. But they do investigate a theory that the college student who died in a police cell was a homicide victim. The victim, Jerome, had confided in Gabriel just before his death-using code from Shakespeare-and, fortunately, Gabriel cared enough to follow up. After he goes to visit Jerome's parents, someone tries to kidnap him, and he's released only because a local reporter witnesses the grab. The reporter fares less well; he's the next murder victim. Hazel and Gabriel need protection-stat. -VERDICT The versatile Bannister (Death in High Places) has crafted yet another stunning, paranoia-doused psychological suspense novel guaranteed to keep readers glued to their seats. A good pairing would be Jonathan Lewis's Into Darkness, which also features an assistance dog. [See Prepub Alert, 10/08/12.] (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Stubborn morality and acid-tinged whimsy drive this superior stand-alone from British author Bannister (Liars All and eight other Brodie Farrell mysteries). Recovering mental patient Gabriel Ash looks pathetic and vulnerable as he rambles through the town of Norbold while talking to his dog. One day, at the local police station, where he's recovering from a beating, Gabriel receives a cryptic message from a man who's then killed by a crazed prisoner. Gabriel forces himself back into contact with normal humanity because he feels he ought to do something about the crime. Rookie policewoman Hazel Best is also dissatisfied with the official explanation of the tragedy. And so the three-the traumatized beating victim, the idealistic young cop, and the dog-begin sniffing under the pristine surface of the virtually crime-free town. They have no idea how dangerous good intentions can be. Bannister's plotting is neat and her characterization smooth, with just enough irony to keep people from seeming ostentatiously noble. Agent: Jane Gregory, Gregory & Company Authors' Agents (U.K.). (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.