Peter Lovesey – The Last Detective (1991, Soho Press, Inc., United Kingdom)
Not to be confused with the “other” Last Detective, “Dangerous” Davies of the novels by Leslie Thomas (perhaps more familiar to many as a TV series), this is Peter Lovesey’s Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond, who shuns late-Eighties/early-Nineties’ computer technology and developments in forensic science in favour of kicking it old-school by knocking on doors and relentless questioning. When a woman is found dead in a lake near the city of Bath, Diamond leads the investigation with characteristic (and occasionally humorous) aplomb, bulldozing his way through clues, suspects, and his subordinates alike. Initially, I wasn’t certain about the character of Diamond – quite frankly, he came across as a total boor and I prefer that even the most unlikeable characters should have some redeeming quality – but over the course of the novel, the development of this tough, flawed gumshoe gave me more than enough reason to keep reading. The POV switches in the novel’s six parts also gave me pause, at first, but they are actually quite effective when all is said and done. I’m curious to see what Lovesey has done with the other novels in this lengthy series (16 books so far).