Best Served Cold by David J Gatward

Best Served Cold by David J Gatward
Publisher: Weirdstone Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

What started in the playground will finish in blood.

When a tragic farm accident turns out to be foul play, DCI Harry Grimm finds himself up against a murderer years in the making and out for revenge.

With the local community in self-imposed lock down, and the body count quickly climbing, Harry and his team are in a race against time to stop a killer as invisible as they are brutally effective.

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And beyond.

DCI Harry Grimm has been up North for a little over a month now and despite his intention to return to Bristol – where his brother is incarcerated and Harry’s private mission can be completed – as soon as he’s allowed by his police superiors, Harry is slowly settling in to life at Wenslydale. He’s slowly allowing the others within the small police department through his shields. Harry has moved from staying at the hotel to renting a small flat, and he’s even considering the biggest change to country life – purchasing his own pair of Wellington’s to save his shoes from further muck.

I really enjoyed this second book from Gatward. While I definitely feel it gives the reader more satisfaction having read the first story (Grimm Up North) this book can absolutely be read and thoroughly enjoyed as a stand alone novel. There is something about Grimm’s character along with his interaction with the small secondary cast of locals that really appeals to me. Gatward is an excellent storyteller and manages to mingle a well written mystery with the country atmosphere yet still allow Grimm’s character to be slightly off balance as the vast expanse of countryside really isn’t his cup of tea at all. It’s a delicate balance and a heady mix in a book like this where it’s really done exceptionally well.

The plot is interesting but not too convoluted. Readers looking for some sort of intricate and deep conspiracy with multiple red herrings and a shadowy cartel or organization in the background won’t find that here. Indeed I found it refreshing and wonderful just how relatable, realistic and “normal” the plot, characters and storyline was. I found this deeply relatable and coupled with the writing style and characters themselves I read this entire book in two sittings because it was just so refreshing and relatable. I loved it.

We learned a very small amount more about Harry’s brother Ben (I can’t wait until we finally get the history and more details about this – I seriously hope it’s in one of the upcoming books but this is clearly a longer-term story arc) and there was also a small reminder or hint about the suspicious nature surrounding the disappearance of the previous DCI which I felt was a gentle nudge to the reader to remind them that particular case/mystery was still open and unsolved and so I’m eager for when that will be resolved too. That said, the main mystery/culprit for this book was wonderfully tied up and I feel the author did an excellent job balancing realism with a good story.

With great storytelling, interesting and realistic characters and a good fast pace, I feel readers should absolutely give this book and series a go. I’m hooked enough I’ve purchased the rest of the series and am really looking forward to them. I’ve found this to be a solid mystery with interesting characters, a good plot and an easy enough writing style they’re fun and engrossing to read. Recommended.

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