The Second Grave, Ian Austin

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

Second in the Dan Calder series, THE SECOND GRAVE moves the action from being all in New Zealand, to England, when Dan returns home to help out his best friend and ex-colleague Nick Hetherington. Hetherington's daughter has been arrested in connection with a murder, and both men can't believe for a moment that she would have had anything to do with the death of a Nottingham based prostitute.

Whilst it's not absolutely essential that the earlier book in the series (THE AGENCY) must be read first, this is one of those occasions where it really wouldn't hurt. There's a lot of backstory to Dan Calder's life, personal and professional, and there are aspects of that referred to in this novel constantly - particularly the background to his relationship with New Zealand girlfriend Tara. Having said that this is a series in development and you may find that both books suffer from a tendency to heap on the police procedural elements, and there's still some scope to tweak the dialogue to get it flowing more freely and naturally. Oddly enough, given that THE SECOND GRAVE takes Dan Calder home, and potentially more comfortable territory, but especially given the slightly more way out there plot of the earlier novel, this one isn't quite as convincing as the first. It's possibly less action packed, slightly more inclined to drag in places than THE AGENCY, suffering perhaps a little from second novel syndrome and such a sudden change of circumstances in what seemed at the end of the first book, like a welcome change of lifestyle for Dan Calder.

Having said all of that, hopefully this is a series that will continue developing. Calder is an interesting character, and there's some unusual plot concepts at the heart of these novels.

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Dan Calder is back. Back in his native England once again to help his best friend and ex-partner Nick Hetherington. Nick’s daughter has been arrested in connection with the death of a Nottingham prostitute. Back to face his darkest moment as old acquaintances and old enemies set his cupboard full of skeletons rattling once more. 

‘The Second Grave’ has Calder facing the battle of his life to fulfil a solemn promise to his dearest friend. New foes including a local gangster are prepared to do anything to prevent the truth being revealed.Left at home in New Zealand, Calder’s girlfriend Tara senses he also views this return as an opportunity to settle old scores. Time and the odds are against him; incredibly so too the upholders of law itself, his beloved police force. 

Rushing headlong towards the past; whoever coined the phrase you couldn’t even make this stuff up was very wrong.

Review The Second Grave, Ian Austin
Karen Chisholm
Saturday, June 8, 2019

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