Next in Line (William Warwick #5) , by Jeffrey Archer

Eight stars

Always eager to get my hands on anything by Jeffrey Archer, I devoured the latest book in the William Warwick series. Archer has Warwick offer more insight into the wonders of British policing in the late 1980s, climbing the ranks on his way to the ultimate promotion. Warwick has his hands full with this one, showing how versatile he can be, alongside his team, as they face some of their most daunting work to date. Archer proves that he’s got many ideas to share and I hope he’s able to finish this series before laying down his pen.

It’s 1988 and Britain is in the middle of their love affair with Diana, the People’s Princess. While many in the Royal Family prefer to keep a low profile, Diana attracts the flashbulb like none before her. This nothing new, but something is on the horizon, lowing the tabloids to feast on all the crumbs tossed their way.

With all the hype, Scotland Yard and the Met will have to ensure they are ready for the heightened security issues that await them as they guard Diana’s every move. While the Royal Protection Command is tasked with keeping the royals safe, there appear to be some issues, which could prove disastrous. Detective Chief Inspector William Warwick brings his team along to investigate the Command, trying to root out those bad apples who are more concerned with padding their pockets than jumping in front of a bullet.

While Warwick sends one of his most trusted detectives to protect Diana, there’s much to be done to keep the peace. As Diana rushes all over with her newest paramour, someone is planning something that could turn Britain, and the world, on its head. Trying to keep the peace so the general public is unaware, Warwick will have to diffuse the plot before things get out of hand.

All the while, one of Warwick’s old nemeses is working through some legal issues all his own, wrestling for control as he seeks to get the upper hand on Scotland Yard. However, there are many others who have equally conniving plans that could stymie an open and shut case, leaving many to wonder what the future holds. With a handful of other Warwicks and a few retuning faces, Archer dazzles in this latest story that advances the plot and heads towards the ultimate finale.

I have long admired the work of Jeffrey Archer, which mixes an intensity alongside something highly entertaining. This series, which has a unique angle known well to those who loved Archer’s Clifton Chronicles collection, never ceases to amaze me and keeps things speeding along with strong plot, sensational storytelling, and a cast of characters who use actual historical events as a great backdrop to deepen their own presence. I can only hope there is enough time to get this series to its ultimate ending, which I know will be worth the wait.

Archer knows storytelling and has pulled me in on many an occasion with his flights of fancy and historical perspectives. A strong narrative guides the reader throughout a great deal in short order, never stopping long enough for the reader to catch their proverbial breath. A cast of characters that improves and deepens with each passing book offers the reader something they can enjoy, complaining progress and recession throughout the novels. A set of well-honed plot lines keeps the story electric and provides some forks in the narrative progression, keeping the reader on the edge of their seats throughout. I can only hope the intensity continues as the book continues, rocketing towards the ending Archer has in mind.

Kudos, Mr. Archer, for another winner I could not stop reading. How you have such control over me!

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:

Turn a Blind Eye (Detective William Warwick #3), by Jeffrey Archer

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Jeffrey Archer, and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

The newest novel in Jeffrey Archer’s latest series is always reason for some excitement, at least for those who have a penchant for the author’s attention to detail. DI William Warwick has been through a great deal of late and feels that his actions might merit demotion or worse. However, his superiors at the Met have other ideas, using him to coax out those who have gone rogue. It will be a secret mission that could cost Warwick everything if he is caught, but ensure another promotion if he is successful. Archer at his best in this piece, which keeps his many fans on the edge of their seats.

As the case of Assem Rashidi, notorious drug lord, is set to go to trial, William Warwick is promoted for his work on the arrest. DI Warwick is not sure if he ought to be happy about this, or expect to be punished because of all the corners that were cut in the sting operation. Still, he’s happy to be a part of the action and will follow whatever plan is put before him.

DI Warwick is given a daunting task to help discover whether others within the Metropolitan Police have been acting in a corrupt manner. It will not only be difficult, but highly dangerous, as no one likes a leaker. Amassing his team, DI Warwick begins targeting a young detective who is surely living beyond his means, which is likely related to receiving kickbacks.

The Rashidi trial comes before the courts with DI Warwick as one of its key witnesses. Two others in the Warwick family are heading the Crown’s case—Sir Julian, the ever-present father, and Grace, his sister—prepared to put away this seedy character as soon as possible. The case will be difficult, with a strong defence headed by Booth Watson QC, but the Warwicks are determined, if nothing else. The case hinges on identification and Rashidi will do anything he can to lead everyone off his trail.

Meanwhile, Beth Warwick has been tending to her new twins while William is away working. She knows the life of a detective’s wife is anything but glamourous, but finds ways of keeping herself busy. Oddly enough, this includes spending some time wit ha new friend, Christina Faulkner, who happens to have been recently divorced from William’s greatest foe, Miles. When a series of events thrust Christina into a massive fortune, it becomes apparent that corruption inside the Met is much deeper than first expected.

Juggling the trial and some of his own sleuthing, DI Warwick gets to the heart of the matter, in hopes of rooting out those who would try to bring the Met to its knees. It will be a challenge, but there’s nothing that DI William Warwick holds closer to his heart than ensuring no one is turning a blind eye to justice. Well, perhaps family is a little more important, but that’s for another story!

Anyone familiar with Jeffrey Archer and his writing will know that there are numerous subtleties found within each story. Be they linking pieces that keep a series connected or off the cuff remarks that come back to mean something later, Archer keeps his readers on their toes throughout. This book is no exception, creating a series about William Warwick, a character who was mentioned throughout the Clifton Chronicles as being the main protagonist of Harry’s popular series. Now, the reader can see all the buzz that the novels created directly, as Archer takes on the role of Harry Clifton to breathe life into the idea.

William Warwick is a fabulous protagonist and grows effectively throughout the series. He has been promoted and works on showing his leadership throughout this piece. However, he cannot stop looking behind him, as there are those who would love to see him fall flat on his face. Added to that, Warwick a new father to twins, which forces him to divide his time between work and home life, never easy at the best of times. The reader sees some solid development throughout, perfect as things heat up ahead of the fourth novel.

Archer is never one to create flat characters, even those who are in a supporting role. The cast of this novel offer great depth and excitement throughout, as the story shifts to numerous plot developments and settings throughout. There are those who complement Warwick well, as well as individuals who flavour the narrative such that the impediments are clear. Never a shortage of action fills the pages of this book, with Archer providing wondering entertainment in the form of his minor characters.

The story itself was strong and began soon after the previous novel ended. This is always hard to do, as Archer must bridge the excitement that ended the last piece with a new sense of pizzazz immediately. There is no issue with the flow of the story or pulling the reader into the centre. I found myself lost in the story with a great deal of ease, leaving me to want even more with each chapter. The narrative pushed along well and kept me begging for more, with short chapters that teased as much as they propelled the story forward. Archer has a style I have come to love and I cannot get enough, so I am happy to know that the next piece is hot on the heels of this one, due out in November. What a treat that will be, as DI William Warwick has much to do in the coming years.

Kudos, Lord Archer, for another winner. You never seem to slump in my opinion, which makes seeing your books all the more exciting for me.

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

Hidden in Plain Sight (Detective William Warwick #2), by Jeffrey Archer

Nine stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Jeffrey Archer, and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Jeffrey Archer returns with another stellar novel in the William Warwick series. Taking readers back to the glory days of the 1980s, this police procedural is sure to impress many, particularly those who have a great affinity for Archer’s Clifton Chronicles.

William Warwick has been given a rare treat at work, a long overdue promotion to Detective Sergeant. However, with this comes a move to the Major Drug Squad for an intense case that could bring much notoriety. Large amounts of heroin have made its way into London, a drug that has crippled 1986 England and sent waves throughout the Metropolitan Police. 

Warwick’s promotion brings a new member to the team, DC Paul Adaja, whose interest in getting things done helps pave the way to a successful addition to the team. Working through the handful of confidential informants (CIs) at their disposal, Warwick and the team learn that there is a weekly meeting that could garner a great deal of potent arrests, though the location of the Viper remains a well-guarded secret. Through a series of mad car chases, working off crumbs of CI intel,  Warwick is none the wiser when it comes to landing this big fish, but refuses to give up too swiftly. 

On a personal note, Warwick and his fiancee, Beth, are eager to share their nuptials, planning a small ceremony that turns out to be anything but calm. Well-known criminal mastermind, Malcolm Faulkner, makes his presence known and tries to destroy any credibility Warwick might have, though the power of love appears to prevail.

When news comes that Faulkner is about to receive a shipment of drugs that could end him away for the foreseeable future, it’s all hands on deck to make the bust. Faulkner cries foul and does anything he can to keep the changes from sticking, though the prosecutorial team is none other than Sir Julian and Grace Warwick, the father and sister duo of our beloved William. The case proceeds and the jury is empanelled, leaving the courts to decide the fate of Faulkner once and for all.

When Warwick discovers where he can find the Viper’s Nest, he’s quick to rush in that direction, though it won’t be a peaceful arrest by any means. Casualties could be massive as these are the roughest of the rough, Warwick will soon learn that this is the least of his concerns. Entertaining throughout, Archer shows that he is still at the top of his game.

I have long been a fan of most anything that Jeffrey Archer puts to paper, having amassed a large quantity of high quality novels. This new series, which is actually the collection of writing referenced repeatedly throughout the Clifton Chronicles, may be set in the 1980s, but can easily hold the attention of the dedicated  thriller fan.

William Warwick returns and plays a wonderful protagonist. While he is a sensible cop, his outgoing nature endears him to many. Always looking for the next big break in a case, Warwick works his magic in ways only Jeffrey Archer could connive. With his strong ties to family and his workplace, Warwick’s character develops throughout this piece and there are hints that he will have to branch out in the upcoming novel, as he is sure to take on a new role or two.

Archer does well developing some of his secondary characters as well, who surely help enrich the story in many ways. From the others in the Warwick clan to those who work within the Met, each flavours the narrative effectively and advances Archer’s ever-developing plot. While some are recurring characters, there are a handful of strong one-timers, all of whom keep the reader entertained throughout.

The book proves highly entertaining, advancing the series well while keeping things highly realistic. Set in the late 1980s, Archer uses this backdrop to develop a strong story with numerous plotlines that are sure to keep the reader guessing. There is not a ‘dated’ feel to the book, though surely the lack of technology mentioned is sure to be noticed by those scouring the narrative. Archer uses his wonderful style to take the reader on this twisted journey, as they lose themselves in the strong narrative. With decent length chapters, Archer uses his style to inject detail into the story, leaving the reader to picture things as they occur. Cliffhangers throughout and some great subplot development that makes wishing for the next book all but essential.

Kudos, Lord Archer, for another success. I can’t get enough of your books and look forward to the next publication.

Please have a look at my review on the Mystery & Suspense site, where many other reviews and information can be found.

Review: Hidden In Plain Sight

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

Nothing Ventured (William Warwick #1), by Jeffrey Archer

Nine stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Jeffrey Archer, and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Having loved Jeffrey Archer’s Clifton Chronicles, I was pleased to see this new series that will have my fellow fans just as excited. Those who remember Harry Clifton and his prodigious career as a writer will remember the William Warwick novels that were the author’s bread and butter. Archer has decided to shed some light on these, writing a series of novels about the man who climbed the ranks of the police service. In this series debut, William has decided not to follow in his father’s footsteps and refuses to read law. Instead, he chooses the path of art history before enrolling in the police academy. After passing his entrance exams, Warwick is sent to the beat, where he garners some much needed experience under the tutelage of a seasoned copper. When given the chance to write the detective’s exam, he soars through the experience and is soon assigned to Art and Antiquities, using his attention to detail and past academic experiences. Warwick has much to learn, but is also tossed out to juggle a number of cases, all of which take him in different directions and has him meeting book forgers, currency schemers, and even traffickers in stolen artwork. While not entirely won over by his son’s choices, Sir Julian Warwick QC can see the benefits to Warwick’s choices and works with him on a side project. It would seem the woman who has caught young DC William Warwick’s eye has a secret she has tried to keep her herself. However, as Warwick grows fonder of Beth Rainsford, he cannot fight the urge to unravel yet another mystery. A brilliant launching pad to what I hope will be a sensational series, Archer does not disappoint readers with this piece. Highly recommended to those who love Lord Archer’s writing style, as well as readers who like a light and fast-paced police procedural series with artistic flavourings.

In my long reading career, I can say that I have long loved every opportunity that I have had to curl up with a Jeffrey Archer novel. His ability to keep the story simple and yet enthralling is second to none, while also developing strong characters and a plot that keeps the reader wanting more. As I mentioned above, this is an interesting project, one in which Archer almost assumes the role of Harry Clifton in crafting these stories that appeared throughout the Clifton Chronicles. William Warwick serves as a wonderful protagonist whose early rise as an officer of the law is documented here. From his passion for police work on the beat through to his intuition and ability to find clues where others fail, Warwick is both in tune with his surroundings and a character worthy of the reader’s attention. The novel portrays both his personal and professional sides, injecting the needed passion in each to develop a well-rounded individual who enriches the larger story. There are many threads left dangling, which Archer will hopefully tie-off or add to in the subsequent novels of the series. Others enrich the story and the plot lines, complementing Warwick where possible, but also developing sub-plots that could emerge in future novels. The story was strong and introduced the reader to this most formidable character. While some may worry that there is a need to know the Clifton Chronicles to read this piece, the Warwick novels are independent of the previous series, though I am sure devout fans of Clifton will see tie-ins when Harry mentioned the novels throughout his time as a protagonist in Archer’s earlier work. A mix of short and longer chapters, as well as Archer’s use of themes from past novels—art, policing, court proceedings—allow this series debut to be one that is sure to garner much discussion and anticipation between novels. I, for one, cannot wait to see how William Warwick will rise through the ranks to the pinnacle of his career.

Kudos, Lord Archer, for this great start. As you mentioned in the author’s note, I can only hope you will survive the entire journey as you dazzle your countless fans.

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