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She by Pete Brassett

The briefly titled She is the first book I have read by Pete Brassett and it’s also the first in a crime series (Di Munro and DS West). As an introduction – to ongoing characters and their partnership – it serves the reader well. Detective Inspector Munro is an experienced cop and Scotsman who doesn’t suffer fools and enjoys taking those new to his team under his wing, albeit in a particular way. It would be easy to believe the man had been a teacher in a former life as everything becomes a lesson which demonstrates his superior knowledge and ability – often at the expense of those with less time on the force. In this book, the person on the receiving end of most of his lessons in policing is Detective Sergeant West. Coming across from financial crimes, it appears she has a lot to learn and that Munroe is just the fellow to teach her, especially when it seems they have a very gruesome serial killer on the loose – a woman, no less – the “She” of the title.

Written in alternating viewpoints, from someone very familiar with the suspect as well as in the third person when the crimes are being investigating, it makes for engaging reading – most of the time. At other times, I found it a little clichéd: the old, grumpy male cop with young, enthusiastic female partner who not only seemed to make some basic errors of judgement, but relishes the experience and wisdom of her older counterpart. For someone who reached the rank of Sergeant, I found West’s naiveté and sometimes stupidity a little hard to swallow and felt there were sexist overtones in her portrayal which rankled. Still, you do end up feeling very fond of DI Munroe as his intentions are not to humiliate but genuinely improve his colleague’s performance and as West grows into her role, you invest in her as well.

Enough to ensure I purchased the next book in the series.

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