Over My Dead Body (Detective William Warwick #4), by Jeffrey Archer

Eight stars

Jeffrey Archer is back for another thrilling adventure with William Warwick at the helm. This series, rich with plots and character development, is sure to catch the eye of the reader who enjoys a ‘full in’ experience, using wonderful narrative twists to keep the story advancing until the final paragraph. Warwick is ready to tackle a new adventure, or a few of them, as a new ‘cold case’ squad is assembled within the Metropolitan Police. There, he will travel around Europe, trying to piece together some of the cases that no one else has been able to solve. All the while, one of his greatest nemeses continues to work off the grid, seeking to build an empire while appearing to have already died. Archer does a masterful job of taking the reader along for the ride and showing that he is a true master when it comes to writing.

While every police officer must work hard to earn their keep, William Warwick knows the importance of rest and rejuvenation as well, choosing to take his wife on a cruise across the Atlantic to New York. During their voyage, Warwick and his wife, Beth, encounter some drama, as the ship liner’s owner dies aboard, potentially in less than innocent circumstances. Befriending a young man who seeks to follow in his footsteps, Warwick helps to uncover some truths that might not have been revealed otherwise, showing that a detective is always ‘on duty’.

Warwick has seen a great deal during his time with London’s Metropolitan Police, but he is never sure what to expect when he arrives at the office each day. Upon his return from holiday, he’s put into a new and intriguing Unsolved Murders Unit, known colloquially as ‘the Cold Case Squad’, to help bring to justice those who have slipped through the cracks. Working with a former undercover agent, Warwick begins tackling the pile of cases, in hopes of earning the favour of his superiors.

At the top of the list is trying to nail down the elusive Miles Faulkner, a millionaire with nefarious ideas who is said to have died a few months before. Warwick cannot deny that many can attest to the man’s death, but something does not sit right with him. Duplicity was never something from which Faulkner strayed and there’s something off about what’s been going on of late.

While Warwick finds himself racing across Europe to work through the cold cases, he’s always on the lookout for new or clues as to where Miles Faulkner may have landed, as well as how he is trying to build his empire anew. Warwick must act swiftly in order to earn his keep, but also try his best to be aware of how he might entrap his greatest nemesis once and for all. A brilliant piece that keeps the reader enthralled until the very end, as per a usual Jeffrey Archer story!

I have long been a fan of Jeffrey Archer’s writing, shelving any of the personal controversies people may bring up in conversation. His stories are not only well-plotted, but they have a great deal of adventure and build off one another effectively. There is a richness to them and this series has not lacked any of the impact throughout its development. With a proposed eight novels in the series, Archer has penned half of them, with a lot of ground to cover yet. I am eager to be a part of it, as I know there are many twists yet to be revealed.

William Warwick continues to climb the ranks within the Met, even if some of those around him are sure he will stumble. It is his tenacity that makes him alluring to the reader, though he also has a great wit and numerous detective skills needed to showcase his abilities. Warwick’s personal and professional growth in the novel is apparent, allowing series fans to see changes in him as the novels progress, while also dazzling those who are new to Warwick and many of his nuances.

Anyone entering a Jeffrey Archer novel should be ready to succumb to a vast array of narrative twists, sub-plots, and truly dazzling writing. There is much that comes to light in each novel, requiring a great deal of attention as the story progresses. Archer develops his narrative quickly and does not stop throughout the story, adding momentum with each plot twist and character development moment. Always adding layers of new characters, Archer provides more names to following and connects them to the larger story arc. There is a buzz around this series, as I can never tell what is to come and how William Warwick will react to what’s put before him. Still, it’s great to know that Archer has ideas and drafts of future novels ready, showing that it is only a matter of time before my curiosity is sated.

Kudos, Lord Archer, for another winner. I am eager to see what is to come!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: