Blood Line: An Anna Travis Novel (Anna Travis Mysteries)
by Lynda La Plante
Review by Steve Sawicki
Harper Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780062134325
Date: 23 October 2012 List Price $14.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Detective Anna Travis is still struggling to come to terms with the death of her fiancÚ when she is handed a missing person's case. New to her role as a chief inspector for London's murder squad, she's a bit curious as to why she's being handed such a minor case. The superintendent, James Langton, seems to be watching out for her as he urges her to take on the suspicious assignment. His oversight of her movements will drive Anna to tears as the case turns from a missing person to murder. And not just any murder but one with no victim, minimal clues, suspects with alibis and a lot of pressure from the top to resolve everything quickly.
This is a fairly slowly paced novel and that works fine with the way La Plante maneuvers her characters through their steps. The novel almost parallels real police work which can be methodical and hinge on very small insights and intuitions. This is how La Plante drives her character Anna Travis. The complication of Travis's fiance's death is less impactful except for the way it plays on her self confidence and keeps her in a state of melancholy.
I enjoyed the novel although at times I wondered at the pacing. But it all worked and the way La Plante laid things out, choosing where to let the reader join in and what pieces to hold out, was fairly masterful. It all combined to created a mystery that unfolded very slowly and unevenly and one in which the participating characters held differing opinions. This certainly led to some credibility.
Now, this is a book in a series and, to be honest, I had not read the series. While there was a time or two where I felt a tiny bit lost it did not impinge on the total understanding of what was going on and it did not affect my enjoyment of the book. Definitely recommended if you are looking for a police procedural with plenty of twists and turns.