‘The sleepy historical city of York is about to wake up’.
It is Christmas Day in York. A woman is found dead in her bed. A suicide note is found on her chest. It reads ‘I am so sorry Martin’. Hours later the police are called to a house a few miles away. A mother and her daughter have been brutally attacked; the mother is dead and the daughter is barely alive. The father is found shaking uncontrollably in the corner of the room. He is covered in blood but he is unharmed. His name is Martin Willow.
Detective Sergeant Jason Smith is put in charge of the investigation. After reaching dead end after dead end, Smith starts to put the pieces together and figures out that Martin Willow is innocent and the killer is still out there.
The little girl who was attacked on Christmas Day wakes from her coma and gives Smith a clue about the attacker; a piece of a song she heard directly before the attack. Smith then finds himself in a race against time to find this maniac before he kills again.
I recently read and reviewed the latest title ‘Unworthy’, which is the eighth book in the series featuring DS Jason Smith. I absolutely loved in but because I am a bit OCD and like to read series in order, I resolved to pick up, read and review the rest of the series as soon as I could, starting with ‘Smith’. Oh my I am so glad that I did because what a start to a series it is. I absolutely loved ‘Smith’ but more about that in a bit.
DS Jason Smith is a man with a past. I know everybody has a past but his past seems more emotionally fraught than a lot of others. We meet two different Smiths and I know that sounds confusing. We meet Smith as he is now (when the book is set) and we meet Smith as a young boy, growing up in Australia The younger Smith hasn’t had the best of childhoods and the local bully keeps trying to wind him up. The younger Smith is a very good surfer and he tries to teach his younger sister to surf, although this is where wheels are set in motion that lead to tragedy. The local bully dares the younger Smith to do something and Smith takes his eyes off his sister for a few minutes. Tragedy strikes and Smith is blamed for what happened. Smith is sent overseas by his mother and he ends up living with his Grandmother, who he adores. The feeling is mutual. The older Smith is settled in York and he is a hard working police detective sergeant. There is a bit of friction between him and another Detective Sergeant but it’s nothing that Smith can’t handle. It’s safe to say that both dislike the other. Smith does lead a bit of a solitary lifestyle. There’s no long term partner although he does have his eye on somebody, he doesn’t see to have many friends and he does enjoy his own company. He is on first name terms with the local pub landlady and it’s not surprising because he is in the pub often enough- mainly for the love of the beer and the love of the pies that the landlady cooks. Smith does love a challenge and it’s safe to say that this latest case is definitely proving to be a challenge in more ways than one. Will Smith solve the case? Well for the answer to that question you are just going to read the book for yourselves to find out because I am not going to tell you.
I have to be honest and say that there was not one thing that I disliked about the book. I loved the fact that the majority of the book is set in York, which isn’t far from where I live. I loved the cast of characters although the Detective Sergeant who dislikes Smith needs a slap with a wet flip flop. The author clearly cares about his characters and this shines through in his writing. The characters are so well described that they seemed to jump off the page and come to life. I began to think of some of the characters as friends and as a result I wanted to jump into the book and stick up for them if they were being treated unfairly or they were under attack. The author’s writing style is so good that I felt as though I was an extra member of Smith’s team, I was investigating the case myself and I found myself starting to interact with the book. I know, I know it’s fiction but if I am really enjoying a book I start to ‘live’ the story. I loved the way in which Smith escaped his horrendous family situation in Australia and the fact that he had such a lovely relationship with his grandmother. When I learnt that she had passed away, I felt a lump develop in my throat. I loved the way in which Smith used his experiences to learn from and that despite the obstacles in his way, he has gone on to have success in his university life and later as a police officer.
Reading this book was like being on an at times scary and unpredictable rollercoaster ride with several twists, turns and stomach churning moments. There were times when I feared for Smith’s safety but given that there are another 8 books in the Smith series I knew that he was going to survive the case.
It’s fair to say that I absolutely loved reading ‘Smith’ and I would definitely recommend it to other readers. Happiness or me is discovering a series, loving the first book in said series and realising that you still have another seven books to catch up on. I can’t wait to read more about what fate has in store for Detective Sergeant Jason Smith. The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a well deserved 5* out of 5*.