Title: Over my Dead Body
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Published by: Harper Collins
Publication date: 14th Oct 2021
Format: eBook / ARC
In London, the Metropolitan Police set up a new Unsolved Murders Unit – a cold case squad – to catch the criminals nobody else can.
In Geneva, millionaire art collector Miles Faulkner – convicted of forgery and theft – was pronounced dead two months ago. So why is his unscrupulous lawyer still representing a dead client?
On a luxury liner en route to New York, the battle for power at the heart of a wealthy dynasty is about to turn to murder.
And at the heart of all three investigations are Detective Chief Inspector William Warwick, rising star of the Met, and ex-undercover operative Ross Hogan, brought in from the cold.
But can they catch the killers before it’s too late?
I received an eARC of Over my Dead Body by Jeffrey Archer via NetGalley. My thanks to NetGalley and publisher Harper Collins for the approval. As this was an ARC my review doesn’t take into account any spelling or grammatical errors which should be edited out before publication.
Over my Dead Body is the 4th book in a series about Detective Chief Inspector William Warwick, and is the first Jeffrey Archer book I have read. Although this particular offering is part of a longer series, this book is perfectly fine to read as a stand-alone. There’s a bit of backstory to the characters in the previous books, but nothing that can’t be figured out with what has been written here.
The novel starts with DCI Warwick on an idyllic cruise, accompanied by his wife, their first real holiday in a long time. Sadly, things don’t quite pan out the way they hope, and Warwick is dragged back to work and solving a murder on board. As the novel progresses more and more cases are opened up all centering around DCI Warwick’s new cold-case team.
The Team consists of DCI Warwick, DI Ross Hogan, and a handful of other detectives; each of which has been assigned their own particular case to solve. While there was a clear distinction between DI Hogan and the role he plays throughout as the plot evolves and the rest of the team, I did find that a lot of the other characters just blended into the background. There wasn’t enough distinction between any of them to make them enjoyable or memorable. I even place the main villain, Miles Faulkner in this category as he didn’t make himself stand out for any real reasons against those that were trying to bring him to justice, despite the premise being so promising.
Each of the cases has limited appeal to them and the way the novel is stitched together feels more like a collection of short stories that was haphazardly thrown together with very little care. In the end, the solving of them felt extremely unrealistic and rushed. It feels as though these cases are meant to keep the novel bound together for the reader, to keep a rolling interest as the narrative evolves; however, rather than being successful, it’s more like the story loses its focus and becomes disjointed. At times I found myself to be rather lost with the intricacies of the characters; especially the female characters who seemed the most vacant and lacking in individuality.
There is a bit of magic at the beginning of the book when DCI Warwick is enjoying his time off work on a cruise, where something tragic happens and Warwick is the one called upon to solve a murder. This section of the book feels like a classic ‘Whodunit’ story along the lines of Agatha Christies well-known Poirot, series. The way this section of the story was handled was particularly well written and the mystery element was gripping; even the characters introduced here had a lot more strength to them than the ones introduced later on. Sadly, when the honeymoon phase of the book is over, the magic gets lost.
DI Ross Hogan is a shining star in the book, his mannerisms and the events that surround him felt like there was some conscious thought into his making. He was a character that had personality and came across as well-rounded; he had flaws as well as strengths, unlike his rather ‘too perfect’ DCI boss. It was his story that engaged me as a reader.
I adore a book that has a good, well-rounded ending and while the bones of this were present in Over my Dead Body, I do feel like the ending was rushed. Everything came together just that little bit too quickly and the final ending was abrupt. There was no sense of closure with how rapidly the book stopped, which after the break-neck speed in which everything was wrapping up felt jarring.
Sadly, I struggled with this book and didn’t feel like I could connect with any of the characters. Everything, from the overall plot to individual cases just felt dry and strangely incomplete somehow. It felt like there was a distinct lack of personality to any of it and as a result, I only ended up finishing the book due to a sense of duty to NetGalley and Harper Collins for approving me to read it.
A disjointed mystery involving a few too many characters that come across as unremarkable and forgettable. The highlight of the book is the first murder-mystery case, which is reminiscent of classic ‘whodunits.’ The rest of the book is sadly bland and lacking in any real depth resulting in a dull runaround for the characters and a story to be endured rather than enjoyed.