An easy 5 stars from me!
Alison Bruce has excelled herself with The Backs, it knocks its predecessors into a cocked hat as far as I’m concerned.
As a fan of the Cambridge Blue series I have always tried to view each one with impartial eyes and review it honestly on its own merits and not because I think Alison is a cool lady; I think my previous reviews have been critical when needed which hopefully reflects that my opinion is unbiased.
The Backs focuses less on building the reader’s relationship with Goodhew (which is fine as we know and love him enough already) and more on building a really engrossing story with excellent characterisation of the main protagonist and all ‘bit players’.
I really enjoyed the scene setting and descriptive writing which also seemed to have upped its game in this book, so as well as getting a really good detective story you also get a beautifully written and engaging tale that leads you through the streets of Cambridge in glorious detail.
As I live near Cambridge and visit often, this was an added delight for me and I really enjoyed spotting Gary’s row of houses view it’s view across Parker’s Piece to the Police Station and catching a glimpse of CB2 which is now on my list of must visit places.
All in all an absolute success and genuine pleasure to read. I love that it ends with a big fat question mark over something and particularly enjoyed the italic line on page 243 although maybe not quite so much as I enjoyed and appreciated the name check I got on the acknowledgements page 🙂 featured here with the glamorous hand of Ms Bruce!