When a firebomb attack at a Brighton travellers’ site kills women and children, Chief Superintendent Jo Howe has strong reason to believe the new, dubiously elected, far-right council leader is behind the murders.
Against the direct orders of her chief constable, Jo digs deeper into the killings. She uncovers a criminal ring of human trafficking and euthanasia all leading to a devastating plot which threatens thousands of lives and from which the murderous politician looks sure to walk away scot-free.
Well, what can I say about Force Of Hate apart from Wow! This is Graham Bartlett’s second book in the Jo Howe series, and it was sensational.
The storyline is frankly so realistic, being set in Brighton with a newly elected Council Leader who has extreme far-right tendencies, and CS Jo Howe being in his headlights and therefore in grave danger! I found Force Of Hate chilling in its realism and was utterly gripped by the plot from the opening chapter. Force of Hate is not for the faint-hearted, it is a hard-hitting police procedural, that will make you uncomfortable and unsettled, by the skilful way Grahm has written it.
It does follow on from book one, Bad For Good so I would advise reading that first if you haven’t already. The cast of characters is utterly real and so clearly written, Grahgam’s skill at making his cast jump off the page and make you FEEL something is second to none, and this along with the frankly frightening plot, made Force of Hate an instant 5-star read, that’s gripping, a page turner and sublime. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for book 3!
I waited so long for Force Of Hate to arrive but I’m so pleased I have my Goldsboro Books signed limited edition to go with Bad For Good.
The murder of a promising footballer, son of Brighton’s highest-ranking police officer, means Detective Superintendent Jo Howe has a complicated and sensitive case on her hands. The situation becomes yet more desperate following devastating blackmail threats.
Howe can trust no one as she tracks the brutal killer in a city balanced on a knife-edge of vigilante action and a police force riven with corruption.
“This is the real deal. A thoroughly absorbing crime novel with characters and events that will stay with you for a long time.” Elly Griffiths
“As an ex-cop, Graham Bartlett knows what he’s talking about and he certainly knows how to tell a good story. Bad For Good is a cracking debut.” Mark Billingham
“Bad For Good has everything you want in a crime novel: compelling protagonists, chilling villains and an engaging, well-constructed plot…One of the most confident debuts I’ve ever read” M. W. Craven
“A taut, visceral thriller that reveals the seamy underbelly of modern-day policing, rife with authentic detail. If you liked Line of Duty, you’ll love Bad for Good ” JP Delaney
Huge thanks to Allison & Busby for sending me a proof copy of Bad For Good.
For those that don’t know Graham Bartlett is an Ex-Police Chief Constable and had an illustrious career including being involved in the so-called Babes In The Wood Murders. I read his book on this subject (written with Peter James) and it was gripping and very well written…. then I saw that Graham was writing his Debut crime fiction novel, and I just knew i would need to read it!
With an absolutely chilling and realistic take on Police Procedures, Bad For Good did not disappoint. The plot is pretty unique and revolves around the consequences of what can happen when a family member is murdered (Harry) and the lengths to which his father – Brighton’s Chief Superintendant Phil Cooke is pushed to by a deathbed promise to his wife!
I’ve read a massive amount of crime fiction (it is my favourite genre) some written badly, some mediocre and some like Graham Bartletts, written with exquisite attention to detail and frightening reality (the lack of Police Officers on the ground!) This makes Bad For Good a simply stunning debut novel, and I hope one in the first of a seriesof many!
There is a huge cast of characters, but all are easy to follow and are full of authenticity… but our main focus is on DS Jo Howe and we follow her fight to solve the murder of Harry Cooke against all the odds and setbacks (I cannot say more as I really do not want to give anything away!). I loved Jo Howe’s character, she is a no-nonsense, tough, methodical and sassy heroine, in amongst a story littered with brutish vigilantes and gangland criminals who will kill anyone that gets in their way!
I couldn’t put Bad For Good down, it is a veritable feast of realism and such a cleverly written novel. In amongst such a huge genre of crime fiction, there are some that truly stand out from the crowd and Bad For Good is one of those! I commend Graham on taking his Police experience and knowledge and putting that into a brilliant debut novel! Take a bow, Sir!!
I urge any fans of police procedurals and crime fiction to get Bad For Good on order and set aside some time to binge read it when it arrives!
If Bad For Good doesnt scoop any awards in 2022, then I will eat my hat!!
A fantastic 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star read.
About Graham Bartlett I am a best-selling author and crime and police procedural advisor to fiction and TV writers. I was a police officer for thirty years and mainly policed the city of Brighton and Hove, rising to become a Chief Superintendent and its police commander. I started writing when I left the police in 2013 and, almost by accident, became a police procedural and crime advisor, helping scores of authors and TV writers (including Peter James, Mark Billingham, Elly Griffiths, Anthony Horowitz, Ruth Ware, Claire McGowan and Dorothy Koomson) achieve authenticity in their drama. I run online crime writing workshops and courses with the Professional Writing Academy and deliver inputs to Masters programmes at the University of Cambridge and the University of East Anglia as well as at the Crime Writing Certificate programme at West Dean College. I live in Sussex with my wife Julie and variously my 24yr old triplets! My debut crime novel, Bad for Good is now on pre-sale on Amazon. It asks the question: How far would you go
JW: Thank you so much Graham for being a guest on my blog, it is a huge honour!
JW:I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? In those days of fighting crime, did you think about writing a fiction novel then?
GB: I’m so unlike many authors in that I had no thoughts of being a writer until I was in my later 40s. As with most things in my life, it all happened by accident. Peter James had been a friend for a few years and saw a blog I wrote. He called me up and said he liked my writing style, describing it as ‘not quite of a commercial standard but workable.’ He followed that up with a suggestion that we write a non-fiction of the stories that inspired the Roy Grace novels. So, the Best Seller, Death Comes Knocking was born. I did most of the writing and he tidied it up, but I got the bug and am now so proud I’m going to be a solo published author.
JW: Where did the inspiration for Bad For Good come from, it is a quite unique and realistic plot!
GB: It all started with me getting angry with the swinging cuts the police were suffering. I imagined what would happen if it got much worse. Would vigilantism take over as the crime control method of choice? And what if that was sponsored by corrupt officials? That was the birth of Bad of Good and I weaved it into a world I was very familiar with so, hopefully, that’s where the terrifying authenticity comes from.
JW: Who would you like to see playing the part of DS Jo Howe, if /when Bad For Good is made into a TV series?
GB; Keeley Hawes! She wasn’t in mind when I wrote Jo but I know she’d play such a complex, driven yet vulnerable character perfectly.
JW: As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?
GB:When I was very young, I loved the Narnia stories as the worlds and adventures they took me on were spellbinding. I remember then picking up When the Lion Feeds, by Wilbur Smith and similarly lost myself in this time a real, yet far away, world. His storytelling just drew me in and that started my love of books. In terms of the TV, it has to be The Professionals. I loved it so much that I remember my police -officer uncle, no doubt prompted by my dad, sitting me down to check that I knew the force I’d set my sights on joining wasn’t actually like that!
JW: As we’re now in May, which book that you’ve read this year has been your favourite? OR which are you most looking forward to?
GB: Wow, there are so so many! I think I’ll plump for Truth be Told by Kia Abdullah. The themes she fearlessly explores around class, privilege, race and religion are so powerfully woven into a gripping race to the truth, it left me quite breathless.
I can’t wait for The Murder Book by Mark Billingham. His Thorne stories, and the standalone, are utterly addictive and so brilliantly written it makes me sick! He’s a friend so I can say that!
JW: Have you ever been starstruck by meeting one of your heroes in real life?
GB: I love Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X books. The whole concept of an orphan who escapes a black ops programme to go around helping desperate people, in the most violent ways you could imagine, is stunning. But it’s his writing which really brings it alive. There is not a wasted syllable, and his descriptive powers and similes are inspired. In 2018, I’d had a few beers at Harrogate Crime Festival when someone, out of the blue, introduced him to me. Well, I fawned over him, quoting brilliant lines I remembered. I could tell he was bored, despite smiling nicely. Thankfully someone ushered me away before I made a complete fool of myself!
JW:What do you consider your greatest achievement?
GB: No hesitation – bringing up triplets to become the wonderful young adults they are now. My wife, Julie, and I always put them first. She gave up her job and I did what I could not to get unnecessarily sucked into work so we could be there for them. Now we have a police officer (who’s also a high-level football referee), a nurse and an astrophysics PhD (don’t ask!) We couldn’t be more proud of Conall, Niamh and Deaglan.
JW: If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?
GB:The 1966 World Cup final. I love football and it would have been great to see what would become a once in a lifetime victory for England. The young, poorly paid, un-pampered men who brought the country the pride we so needed, probably wasn’t as appreciated as it would have been if they’d known what footballing failures we’d become and how mollycoddled today’s players are.
JW: What is something you are passionate about aside from writing?
GB:It might sound corny, but my family. I still adore spending time with the ‘kids’ (I watch Conall being abused by players and crowds alike most Saturdays at Football) and just enjoying their company as funny, intelligent grown-ups. I love it that two still live at home, and they’re 25 in July!
JW:Can you share a shelfie with us? (A photo of your bookshelf)
GB: One of many bookshelves in my home.
JW: If you could invite four people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?
GB: Wilbur Smith – to suck up every ounce of his advice and hopefully learn that he suffered from imposter syndrome too.
Alexander Hamilton – I’m fascinated with his story (borne from the musical, I’ll admit) but would love to know how it felt to build a nation amongst such hostility.
Doreen Lawrence – To say sorry on behalf of the police service (although I had nothing to do with the Metropolitan Police then or now) and to hear how a mother could show such dignity in the wake of such tragedy and injustice.
Oscar Wilde – He’d just be fascinating, but I’d love to hear how it was to suffer the horrors of being punished just for being who you were.
JW: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
GB: Be kind and if you can’t be kind, be quiet.
JW: What’s next? What are you currently working on??
GB: As well as advising dozens of authors and TV writers, I’m editing the second in the Jo Howe series and writing Book 3. I’m really putting her through it by the way!