Killing Rock (Sullivan and Broderick 3) by Robert Daws

Complicated but satisfying…

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

Detective Sergeant Tamara Sullivan has decided to make her temporary transfer from London’s Met to the Royal Gibraltar Police permanent, but bureaucracy means that she must have a month’s break between the two jobs. She opts to spend the time looking after a friend’s small ranch across the border in Spain. The friend’s daughter is an Inspector with the Spanish police and the two young women immediately hit it off. So when cases arise in both Gibraltar and Spain, each of which seems to have a cross-border element, Tamara and Consuela find themselves putting their talents together. Meantime, Gus Broderick finds he might be connected to the victim in the Gibraltar case, so for much of the time he has to take a back seat and trust that Tamara will be able to clear his name.

This has a hugely complicated plot (not helped by the outbreak of war while I was in the middle of the book, resulting in a long gap in reading and a complete loss of concentration!), but it all comes together very satisfactorily in the end. Sullivan is very much the lead character in this one and she’s a likeable detective who plays by the rules, is intelligent, occasionally a little reckless but not too much so, and has a healthy social life and good working relationships with her colleagues. She’s developing into one of my favourite contemporary detectives. Broderick too is a professional, and he has the family life that Sullivan hasn’t yet, so between them they give a nicely rounded picture of normal life, and isn’t that refreshing in modern crime fiction! And the Gibraltar setting is great – Daws has been a regular visitor there for many years and clearly knows the place and the culture very well. I find this surviving outpost of the old British Empire fascinating, and in this one we get to see some of the tensions between Gibraltar and Spain, and also how local people work well together across the border, leaving the politicians to do the squabbling.

The Gibraltar case involves the discovery of the body of a woman, long buried beneath what was then a building site. A letter is found in her possession that suggests she knew Gus Broderick long ago, so her death in Gibraltar, far from her own home but close to his, makes him a suspect. His colleagues are never in any doubt of his innocence, but to prove it they must discover why the woman was there and what happened to her. This involves painstaking tracing of all the people who were connected to the building site at the time of her death.

The Spanish case is both more spectacular and far more complicated, and I’m wary of giving any possible spoilers so forgive some vagueness. It begins when three bodies are found drowned in a swimming pool, and it soon becomes clear this is one in a series of similar killings. But the victims don’t appear to be completely random, and it’s up to Consuela, with a good deal of unofficial assistance from Tamara, to find out the connection. The third-person narrative allows the reader access to information before the detectives, so we meet a couple of mysterious characters that we know must be involved in some way, but it’s not till the end that all the different strands come together and make sense. I felt as if I was floundering a bit halfway through and feared it was all going to be too much to pull together credibly, but Daws does a great job of showing how all the different parts are ultimately connected. 

Robert Daws

This is settling down to be a very good series. It’s not at all cosy, but it avoids a reliance on shock twists, gore and angst-ridden detectives. Swearing is kept to a minimum, professionals behave professionally, plots are complicated and intriguing but also solid and credible. It’s not obsessed with the fashionable and grossly overused subjects of the day – race, gender and identity issues – which is a boon and a blessing to personkind! And the unique setting provides an added level of interest. Each book acts perfectly as a standalone so there’s no particular need to read them in order. I do hope Daws’ acting commitments allow him to keep finding the time to write – he’s as good at each job as the other!

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33 thoughts on “Killing Rock (Sullivan and Broderick 3) by Robert Daws

  1. This really sounds good, FictionFan! I do like main characters who are well-adjusted, have normal relationships and so on. We all have our little warps, but I do like functional protagonists. And the setting is really appealing. I don’t know enough about Gibraltar, and that cross-border nuance sounds fascinating. I haven’t tried this series yet, but I’ve got the feeling I’m missing out…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve really enjoyed finding out a bit more about Gibraltar through this series – it’s such an oddity, as the last outpost of Empire, and the people seem to love being British far more than those of us who live here! 😉 The two detectives are both well drawn and I like that he seems to give each of them the chance to be the lead in different investigations. If you do get a chance to read them sometime I hope you enjoy them!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, good old-fashioned police procedurals aren’t as common as they used to be, and I really prefer them to the more thrillery type of crime novel. I think I’ve been worried about the plot halfway through each book, but he always manages to bring it all together well in the end!

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  2. Haven’t read this series before but the setting is definitely very appealing. I don’t think I’ve read anything set in Gibraltar (that I can recall), and the fact that this reflects the situation and tensions with Spain makes it all the more interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t read any of these, but this one sounds interesting. Thank you for your frank review — I’m right there with you on the refreshing avoidance of overused topics, badly-behaved professionals, and swearing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • These are really very good, and it’s lovely to get away from all these over-used topics for a while! I’m so tired of authors telling me what I should think instead of telling me a good story! And the setting is so unusual that it really adds to the interest. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This does sound good and I like the idea of being set in Gibraltar (you must have a challenge for that?!) but I’m not sure I could cope with the complications, maybe one to get me started with audible?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, yes, indeed! It will fill a slot on my Wanderlust challenge! 😀 I suspect this one felt more complicated than it really was because the news was absorbing most of my attention. But he always manages to bring everything together well in the end. The first book is on Audible, with Robert Daws himself narrating – I’m tempted to “re-read” it just for that!

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    • I definitely think this one seemed more complicated than it really was because most of my attention was being absorbed by the news, but he always manages to bring everything together well in the end! I’m so glad I like the books since he’s always been one of my favourite actors – multi-talented!

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  5. You make some awfully good selling points for this series in your final paragraph. I think I’ll see what my options are for reading it. Always a plus when I can find them at the library, but I’m not holding my breath….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it’s so nice to find a series in the traditional style – neither trying to shock and traumatise us nor trying to jump on the fashionable bandwagons! Hurrah, glad you got hold of the first one! It’s quite short – novella length, more or less, I seem to remember, but the other two in the series are full-length novels. I’ve given all three five stars, which is unusual! Hope you enjoy it! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. One of favorite kinds of crime fiction books are those set outside the England/US nexus and these sound very much up my street, but doing a quick search only shows them here as available through Amazon which I avoid like the plague. Rats!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a pity. It’s a tiny new publisher who’s brought them out and I think they’re mostly being pushed as Kindle books. Maybe if the series takes off they’ll get a proper issue. There was talk at one point of them being adapted for TV, but I don’t know if that’s still on the cards.

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  7. I have read the first two books in this series, but not the third for some reason. I do remember enjoying the location and story of the previous books. So this one is now on the list too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’ve loved him as an actor for decades, which made me a bit wary of reading the first book in case it put me off him! But happily he seems to be just as good at writing as he is at acting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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