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Ah, another Alex Grecian novel! I so enjoyed the first in his Murder Squad series, THE YARD, and I was delighted at the chance to read the follow-up. While THE YARD was a police procedural at the dawn of forensic medicine, THE BLACK COUNTRY is darker, and more of a thriller than a procedural. That said, it was quite entertaining. Inspector Day, Sergeant Hammersmith, and Dr. Kingsley are sent to a coal town in the Midlands, where three villagers are missing. The village, built over the mines, could literally collapse at any moment, making for a dark sense of foreboding over the whole book. Portrayals of Victorian life and coal-mining are gritty and unflinching, with a sense of despair hanging over the whole village. Day and Hammersmith have a charming relationship and Kingsley adds his cutting-edge science to the mix. I had difficulty putting this one down to sleep.

Source disclosure: I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher.

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