GAGGED & BOUND - Natasha Cooper
Trish Maguire is a barrister but no expert in libel law, but her head of Chambers desperately seeks help with the weeping, deeply worried Bee Bowman. Bee is being sued by Lord Tick, a new member of the House of Lords, over the use of his little known family nickname in a biography she has written about a young man caught up in the bombing of a bus load of small children. Typically, nothing ever happens in single events though, and Trish is also caught up in the problems of her dear friend Detective Inspector Caro Lyalt who, in the process of applying for a very high profile job promotion, is told that one of her fellow applicants could be in the pay of a notorious local crime family - the Slabbs.
In the process of investigating both events Trish and her young half-brother David are threatened and her love life hits rocky times because of the threats. A whistle-blower dies, a young woman's body is found, Bee's libel case gets complicated and the reach and brutality of the Slabbs is revealed. GAGGED & BOUND refers not just to the consequences of libel actions but also to the Slabbs preferred method of keeping control of the family and their minions.
The investigation of the libel case is an interesting plot point, as the convicted bomber has already committed suicide and the person with the most to lose from the case is the biographer and maybe the bomber's elderly mother. As Trish delves deeper into the circumstances it seems that the circumstances of the bombing were more complicated than revealed at his own trial.
GAGGED & BOUND is not the first book in the Trish Maquire series and whilst it was possible to follow the story itself in the book, a lot of the background to Trish, brother David and partner George is hinted at, but with insufficient detail to prevent a slight feeling of confusion on the part of the reader. Perhaps it was this that lead to a slight feeling of disconnection with the story and with Trish herself. The plot in GAGGED & BOUND is multi-threaded with the libel case and Bee's story interwoven in the narrative with Trish's searching out of connections between Caro's rival and the notorious Slabb family. Trish herself didn't quite do it for me though, maybe a bit too perfect, maybe a bit too much of a stretch to believe she would be so closely involved in some of the investigation lines, maybe it was the sudden revelations out of nowhere that supposedly resolved one of the threads. It would be worth trying GAGGED & BOUND, but you may want to go back to the earlier books to establish a connection with Trish first.
Barrister Trish Maguire tackles a thirty-year-old terrorism case when distinguished biographer, Beatrice Bowman, hires her to fight a libel claim by a new ennobled member of the House of Lords who says she misidentified him as one of the terrorists who killed a busload of young children.
Meanwhile, Trish’s old friend, Inspector Caro Lyalt, faces an impossible decision---blow the whistle that could end a colleague’s career (and jeopardize her own), or do nothing and never forgive herself. In the running for a fantastic new job within the police force, she learns that a South London crime family is paying off her biggest rival. The villains gag and suffocate anyone who tries to expose their secrets. If the allegations are false, she loses all hope of this job or any other, but if they are true and she does nothing, she’ll live with the guilt forever.
Trish is caught in the middle. As she and Caro help each other find the information they need, Caro’s top informant is shot. Then the body of a young woman turns up in a park, bound, gagged, and suffocated with all the trademarks of a mob killing. And someone is trying to use Trish’s twelve-year-old brother to force her to drop her inquiry. Picking her way through the maze of lies and threats, she brings danger terrifyingly close to herself and the people she loves.
In her seventh thrilling Trish Maguire mystery, Natasha Cooper explores the full destructive power of the wrong words spoken at the wrong time.