I have always taken issue with men trying to write a female protagonist. Without beta readers, and women around them with enough self respect to tell them ‘There is no way any woman in her right mind would do that’ (about a dubious plot point) there is a good chance she will end up a trope or a stereo typical ‘loser’.
I must say I can quite firmly place Barry Maitland in the short list of men who write women convincingly well. Perhaps this is what got him on the list of books you can’t put down. That or his ability to write a completely engrossing plot-line that will have you guessing until the bitter end.
Here’s the blurb from goodreads.com…
“In one of the finest and most pivotal books in this critically acclaimed series, never before published in the U.S., D.S. Kathy Kolla reports to New Scotland Yard and to D.C.I. David Brock’s Serious Crime Division.
Just before Kolla is to start her new job, a young woman is found viscously murdered in a leafy, well-heeled suburb, and the grotesque details of the slaughter appear to be well-rehearsed, even theatrical. Assigned to the case, Kolla’s only improbable lead draws her to a local amateur drama group. Once in their orbit, she is lured into a piece of theatre over which, increasingly, she has little control. In All My Enemies, Brock and Kolla find themselves in a tangled web of deceptions in a case wherein a corpus of plays becomes a template for murder.”
When it comes to books you shouldn’t judge by the cover, All my Enemies Australia and New Zealand’s 2012 edition’s cover design is definitely topping the list for being disappointingly generic and quite meh. The 1996 United kingdom edition was a great deal more on target and interesting.
There are 11 books in total about Kathy Kolla and her colleague David Brock. This was the third installment and I am most likely going to be looking for more from this series when I’ve got time to spare. Hopefully my local library will have the full catalog, because I think they will be highly addictive.
All my enemies was certainly a book I could not put down.
Paperback, 298 pages
Published August 2012 by Allen & Unwin (first published August 1st 1996)