The Dentist (DS George Cross #1) by Tim Sullivan #BookReview #BlogTour


A homeless man. Violently strangled. No leads. Except his past.

An outsider himself, DS George Cross is drawn to this case. The discovery of the dead man's connection to an old cold case then pulls Cross in further. Convinced this is where the answer to the murder lies, he sets about solving another that someone has spent the past fifteen years thinking they’ve got away with. 

Cross’ relentless obsession with logic, detail and patterns is what makes him so irritatingly brilliant. It doesn’t exactly make him popular with colleagues or his superiors, though. He has numerous enemies in the force wanting to see him fail.
Red flags are soon raised as suspicious inconsistencies and errors in the original detective’s investigation come to light. Now retired, this ex-cop has powerful friends in the force and a long-standing dislike of Cross. 

Set in picturesque Bristol in the Southwest of England, it’s not long before the city reveals its dark underbelly, in a case of intriguing twists and turns whose result astonishes even those involved.
Difficult and awkward, maybe. But Cross has the best conviction rate in Avon & Somerset Police. By far. Will this case put an end to that?

It's my pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for The Dentist today. Many thanks to Tim Sullivan and to Emma Welton from damppebbles blog tours for inviting me and for my digital copy of the novel.

The Dentist introduces DS George Cross in a story which is as much about the lead character as it is the crime - or rather crimes - he is investigating. It's immediately obvious that George isn't like other detectives and is certainly not another of the usual troubled, heavy-drinking officers who appear in crime fiction. However, Cross' differences means he stands apart from his colleagues who frequently find him difficult to work with.
The detailed, clearly well-researched descriptions of Cross' behaviour means it doesn't come as a surprise to learn his has Asperger's Syndrome (incidentally, I'm aware that this term is increasingly falling out of favour, although as some people with an Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis prefer to continue using the term, I have no issue with it being used here). His partner, DS Josie Ottey tries particularly hard to try to understand him, despite her weary exasperation at his continued inability to manage social niceties. There's a lovely scene where he is invited to her house and as he struggles with what is visibly a deeply uncomfortable situation, she begins to realise just how hard normal social settings can be for him. Likewise, Alice Mackenzie, the new trainee PSI is desperate to impress him but can't comprehend how best to achieve that, so she studies his behaviour in order to figure out how best to work with him. Although her natural talkativeness and his taciturn nature should mean they clash, I suspect that as the series continues they may form an unlikely yet successful relationship of sorts.
While his current colleagues at least try to make some allowances for his apparent rudeness, it becomes evident that he was treated appallingly and indeed bullied in his earlier days in the police force. As he investigates the murder of a homeless man - who as a fellow outsider, he feels an affinity for - he has to face his former superior, DCI Macdonald, a man who went out of his way to make Cross' life hell. The exchanges between the two crackle with animosity, especially as Cross begins to look more closely at a cold case which appears was managed at best in a lackadaisical manner by MacDonald.
The Dentist isn't a fast-paced police procedural but the plot is well-structured, with a puzzling mystery and a steady flow of revelations which kept me guessing throughout, and its Bristol setting is evoked beautifully. Its strength, however, undoubtedly lies in the superb characterisation; every character is authentically rendered, though of course, DI George Cross is indubitably the most notable figure in the book. He is absolutely brought to life and is clearly a character Tim Sullivan is deeply fond of - and I'm sure I won't be the only reader to feel the same way. There are moments where we may sympathise with him but he is never patronised by the author, nor is he put on a pedestal. As is quite right, he is portrayed as just as flawed and complex as any neurotypical character and his relationship with his father, Raymond is especially touching. This is thoroughly enjoyable introduction to a new series and I'm already looking forward to following George Cross in the next book, The Cyclist.  

The Dentist was published in paperback and digital formants on 15th June 2020 and can be purchased from the following; Amazon UK, Amazon US, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository
The Cyclist (DS George Cross #2) was published on 2nd September 2020 and is available to purchase now.

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

About the Author

Tim Sullivan is an acclaimed screenwriter, whose credits include A HANDFUL OF DUST, starring Kristen Scott Thomas, WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD, starring Helen Mirren and Helena Bonham Carter, JACK AND SARAH (which he also directed) starring Richard E Grant, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen and LETTERS TO JULIET, with Amanda Seyfried. He is also a Television director whose credits include SHERLOCK HOLMES and COLD FEET. He has written extensively in Hollywood in both live action and animation, working with Ron Howard, Scott Rudin and with Jeffrey Katzenberg on the fourth SHREK movie. He has now embarked on a series of crime novels featuring the eccentric and socially-awkward, but brilliantly persistent DS George Cross. Set in Bristol in the south west of England, Cross’ methods often infuriate his colleagues and superiors “not so much a thorn in my side as a pain in my arse,” according to his boss DCI Carson. But his conviction rate, thanks to his dogged persistence and attention to detail, is the best in the force. The DENTIST is in the first of a series. Tim lives in North London with his wife Rachel, the Emmy award-winning producer of THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA and PIONEER WOMAN. Their daughters Bella and Sophia live nearby.


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