No Time To Cry by James Oswald #BookReview #BlogTour

Undercover cops are always dangerous, but DC Constance Fairchild never expected things to go this wrong.
Returning to their base of operations, an anonymous office in a shabby neighbourhood, she finds the bloodied body of her boss, and friend, DI Pete Copperthwaite. He's been executed - a single shot to the head.
In the aftermath, it seems someone in the Met is determined to make sure that blame for the wrecked operation falls squarely on Con's shoulders. She is cut loose and cast out, angry and alone with her grief... right until the moment someone also tries to put a bullet through her head.
There's no place to hide, and no time to cry.

I'm delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for No Time To Cry by James Oswald today. Many thanks to the author, Wildfire Books and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.

No Time To Cry is the first book in James Oswald's new Constance Fairchild series but he doesn't give his protagonist a gentle introduction. The shocking opening of the book sees the undercover DC summoned to the office that forms their operations base by her friend and boss, DI Pete Copperthwaite. When she arrives she is immediately aware that things don't seem right and her suspicions are proved correct when she discovers Pete has been badly beaten then executed by a shot to the head. She might have reasonably assumed that things couldn't get much worse than finding a close colleague murdered but soon realises her life is in freefall as the finger of blame is pointed squarely in her direction. Suspected of compromising their mission or perhaps even being complicit in Pete's death; Con is suspended from duty and leaves the station under the angry gaze of her fellow officers.
It's not uncommon to find the lead character in a police procedural to be an outsider and that's most certainly true for Con. Aside from Pete, her colleagues and superior officers haven't ever warmly welcomed her to the team with their barely concealed misogyny and sneering attitude to Con's privileged background. However, as the novel progresses we discover she has always had a tendency to rebel and it is her tenaciousness which becomes her greatest asset as she finds her life suddenly turned on its axis. The first person narrative is well chosen here, as it allows the reader to understand what drives this outspoken, resolute yet rather lonely woman as well as giving a sense of immediacy to the proceedings.
The plot sees the action move between London, Northamptonshire and Scotland and each location is clearly defined and well-evoked. The pacing of the story is excellent too, switching between taut action scenes and quieter though no less ominous moments where Con begins to understand just what she is dealing with. Her determination to clear her name isn't the only focus of her investigations after she is contacted by an old school friend whose sister, Izzy is missing. Con's visit back to the village where she grew up is an intriguing insight into what shaped her but also results in her dicey situation becoming even more perilous. There's a real feeling of claustrophobia as she discovers that wherever she runs to, somebody is on her tail but just what has she done to be in so much danger?
Her desperate race against time to avoid capture - or a far worse fate - is absolutely compelling but this is much more than just an action-packed thriller. There are some dark secrets uncovered here too and it makes for grim reading although the subject matter never feels gratuitous and is handled with honesty and sensitivity. There's another facet to the novel which I won't go into detail about suffice to say that I loved how James Oswald has left it up to each reader to draw their own conclusions about what the truth is here. I'm also fascinated to see whether this particular aspect of this series opener will be touched on again in future books.
No Time To Cry is everything the first book in a series should be. The exciting plot is packed with tension and drama and a cast of characters who are vividly brought to life. It's a pleasure too, to read a crime novel with so many strong female characters and I particularly loved Con's Aunt Felicity.  Perhaps most importantly though, it introduces a thoroughly appealing protagonist whose uncertain future means I'm intrigued to see where she goes next. I can't wait to find out and highly recommend you introduce yourself to Con Fairchild; I predict this is a series which is going to become very, very popular - and deservedly so.

No Time To Cry is published by Wildfire Books and can be purchased here or from your bookseller of choice.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
JAMES OSWALD is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series of detective mysteries. The first two of these, NATURAL CAUSES and THE BOOK OF SOULS were both shortlisted for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award. NO TIME TO CRY is the first book in James's new Constance Fairchild series.
James farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day, writes disturbing fiction by night.

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Quickfire Questions with James
Give us three adjectives to best describe your new novel?
Thrilling, breathless, short
What are the three most important character traits of your protagonist?
Dogged determination, ability to think on her feet, she doesn’t much care what others think of her
Where is the novel set?
London, Northamptonshire, Perthshire and Angus
Who is your biggest influence as a writer?
Without a doubt, Terry Pratchett
Have you ever killed anyone off from real life in one of your novels?
Frequently. One friend even asked if he could be the villain. He dies naked in his bath.
What was your favourite ‘terrible’ review?
The Hangman’s Song, book three in the Inspector McLean series, has a one star Amazon review that ends “Incidentally, even the title is misleading - there's no singing in the book.”
What is your favourite writing snack?
Chocolate. It’s the perfect brain food.
Which of your characters would you most like to have dinner with?
Madame Rose. Or maybe Mrs McCutcheon’s Cat.


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