Shoot to Kill

Written by James Craig

Review written by Ron Ellis

Ron Ellis is a journalist and author of the Johnny Ace books

Shoot to Kill
RRP: £8.99
Released: August 7, 2104

I’ve never read any of James Craig’s books before, although this is his seventh Inspector Carlyle novel, and I must say what an unorthodox crime novel it is.


That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy it. Quite the contrary. Not only could I not put it down but I now want to read the other six, if only to find out if they are all this strange or was I just having an off day?


Far from having any peculiar eccentricities, John Carlyle comes across as a very ordinary copper who isn’t too enthusiastic about his job which is just as well as his superiors don’t seem to have too great of a regard for him.


The whole thing is written tongue in cheek, the pace is fast, the scenes switch with great rapidity and the characters are larger than life. As, indeed, is the plot.


A porn-loving Mayor of London, an elderly drug dealing businessman addicted to Viagra Professional, a naked black Amazon stripper, a millionaire Premiership footballer, the list goes on. Yet it is all told in a matter-of-fact way that you accept it as a typical day on the beat.


For me, the best features of James Craig’s writing are his humour and the way he puts across political and personal observations in the mouths of his characters.  Pointing out, for instance that 300 new lap-dancing clubs have opened while more than 160 police stations had closed. ‘more strip clubs, betting shops and night clubs, fewer cop shops, post offices and swimming pools’. And the viewing figures for the Queen’s Speech on TV are down to a quarter from 25 years ago. ‘In a few years, they won’t be able to get their own reality TV show’.


I won’t try to explain the plot, read it for yourself. You won’t regret it.

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