Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Book review : Wrapped in White - Kevin Brooks

I can never resist the 3 for £5 crime fiction section of The Works, so when I spotted this one on the shelf with a sale sticker on it for £1, it was a no-brainer - that's even cheaper than a magazine !

Wrapped in White is the third novel featuring private investigator John Craine. I've already read and reviewed the second one, Until The Darkness Comes, but you don't need any background information from the previous episodes to fully understand and appreciate this one.

John Craine is approached to investigate the brutal murder of a young Somali man. The police are writing it off as a drug-related gang crime, but the boy's family think it's a cover-up. Before he has a chance to get his teeth into the new case, news arrives that his friend and mentor (not to mention father figure, since his own father's death several years ago) Leon Mercer has been killed in a tragic house fire, along with his wife. It doesn't take long to realise that both cases are deeply suspicious, but, as John starts digging, his nemesis - bent cop Mick Bishop - comes to warn him off. Mick may not care much for his own life, but he does have to think about the safety of his loved ones.

Although John's heart is undoubtedly in the right place, he is a very hard character to like and empathise with. He is an alcoholic and he takes a lot of hard drugs, yet he constantly drives everywhere, even when he knows he shouldn't. He has blackouts and stomach pain, but won't face up to or deal with his health issues and addictions. The same is true with the problems in his private life - both with his current and former girlfriend. He just seems to go with the flow, drifting along with no idea where the tide of drugs and alcohol will take him. I just wanted to give him a shake and tell him to grow a backbone and take control of his life. 

I felt that there were a lot of loose ends thrown out there that were never tied up or even really developed - the initial murder fades into the background (the aunt who employed him never even gets another mention), the big boss of the seedy underworld is let off the hook, his woman troubles are left undealt with ... he gets closure on a couple of thorny issues but many more are left hanging, which was unsatisfying as a reader. It's a fast-paced, action-packed read that could hit the spot if you want an exciting thriller to devour by the pool with minimum effort, but one to avoid if you're feeling depressed as it's all very bleak.

star rating : 3.5/5

RRP : £8.99

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (11 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009955383X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099553830


  1. Yep, it does sound quite bleak, perhaps not for my summer holiday then. :) Haven't seen this book in The Works, but I got another three for five just last week. My pile of paperbacks is like Everest now.

    1. I know exactly what you mean ! I read quite a few books when we were in Bulgaria last week, but I still have loads to go :)

  2. Ugh, I hate a bleak crime thriller, they're supposed to be exciting and keep you hooked!

  3. Good deal with 3 for 5 pound

  4. Very helpful review, thank you. I prefer mysteries where the original crime doesn't fall by the wayside, even if there turn out to be "bigger" things going on.


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