Cook, J.S. “Willing Flesh”, MLR Pre3ss, 2010.
The Inspector Raft Mystery Series
J.S, Cook gives us the first book in her new series focusing on Inspector Philemon (Cook really dug to find that name but then she works in a library) Raft. London is besieged by several really strange murders, all occurring in the East End of the city. Scotland Yard assigns Inspector Raft to the case but he cannot get a handle on the crimes. The murdered are put on display in public places and the murderer has drilled holes into the skulls of the victims. The only clue that Raft has been able to find is that the victims all have some very strange red dust on the palms of their hands and this brings raft to understand that he has to go over the entire city looking for the guilty person and he, along with his new assistant, Freddie Crook, go into the darkest places in London where danger lurks and light is at a premium. Raft also has other issues on his mind like the person who is blackmailing him and she knows the secrets of his life.
Here is a mystery that keeps you guessing as you read and every time you think you have it solved, you quickly find out that is not the case. Cook gives us an epic character in Raft who shares similarities with another famous London detective (no, I am not saying who but think Robert Downey Jr.) Raft is intelligent and seems to have a sixth sense and complete dedication to his job. He has something for his constable, Crook (that’s his name) and Crook returns the affection. (Sounds like a gay plot is coming). Crook has depth which we do not always see and he has the ability to make people feel comfortable. At the beginning neither man senses the way the other feels about him and to this ready it was very obvious.
Cook is a good writer and I believe she will keep getting better. This is no way great fiction. Cooks builds us interesting characters and she writes well. I do think that the editing is a bit sloppy and with the proper editing, cook will go far (and that with $4 will get you a cup of Starbucks coffee).