BOOK REVIEW: Worse than Dead by Stephen Puleston

Worse than Dead (Inspector Drake #2)Worse than Dead by Stephen Puleston

Available from Amazon UK   Amazon US

A ferry leaves Dublin…The chief engineer lies dead on the car deck …There’s a killer on board…
Inspector Drake is called from a seminar on cyber crime to meet the ferry docking at the port of Holyhead. Frank Rosen the chief engineer lies on the car deck a knife through his heart. For the first time Drake knows where the killer is but he doesn’t know who.
When Rosen’s house is ransacked the night after he’s killed Drake knows the killer was looking for something. The data stick Rosen’s wife finds may hold the clues. But the codes and numbers on it only complicate the investigation.
And then Drake’s cousin makes contact and tells him he has information. But can Drake rely on him or does he have another agenda? And when the team discover a direct link to drug dealing in North Wales and beyond there are powerful forces at work.
Drake’s cousin drags Drake’s family into the middle of the case that piles the pressure on Drake who’s facing regular counselling for his OCD and the prospect of losing his father to cancer.
When Drake’s superior demotes him and acts entirely against protocols Drake knows that something is wrong. Establishing the evidence takes him to Dublin and Cardiff and then on a last minute chase over North Wales to the ancient Fort Belan hoping that he will catch the killer.

My Review

This is book 2 in the Inspector Drake series and I think it would be advantageous to read the books in sequence as Inspector Ian Drake is a complex character and I feel it would help to understand him better if you have the full story.

Drake and Caron are dragged away from a course to investigate a murder on a ferry. Nobody has left and the passengers and crew are all suspects so the murderer has to be on board the ferry doesn’t he/she? So it should be an easy case to solve. It appears not. As Drake and his team plough through the numerous suspects and CCTV footage they come under pressure from all sides.

Twists and turns and red herrings plague the case from the start and the situation isn’t helped when Drake’s new Chief decides to replace Drake as SIO. It soon becomes clear that there is more going on here than just a murder and more bodies turn up with even less clues.

Drake has serious OCD issues and despite receiving therapy these continue to affect him and Caron annoys him as she is a little ‘rough around the edges’ and lives on a farm so is prone to the smells and dirt of the countryside. I am not sure where this OCD is going but hope all will become clear in future books.

A terminally ill father and a wayward cousin add to the stress as Drake and the team collect pieces of a jigsaw that refuse to fit together.

This is an excellent Police Procedural book that moves at a steady pace that increases towards the end causing the adrenaline to start flowing.

I am looking forward to reading more about Drake.

Author photoAuthor Bio

I write mysteries and thrillers.

I have published the first novel in a series featuring Inspector Drake based in North Wales and also the first in a series with Inspector John Marco based in Cardiff. The first Drake mystery is called BRASS IN POCKET and the second WORSE THAN DEAD. The third, AGAINST THE TIDE.

My second detective is Inspector Marco who comes from an Italian/Welsh background and he lives in Cardiff, the capital city of Wales. The first Inspector Marco novel SPEECHLESS has been published on Amazon and the second and third in the series will be published in 2015.

Before turning to crime fiction I had written three other unpublished novels and you can read about my writing and about Wales, one of the most beautiful countries in the world, on my website

I was brought up on the Isle of Anglesey, off the North Wales coast and went to school in Holyhead. After a degree in Theology from London University I decided to train as a lawyer and returned to work in the practice run by my father on Anglesey. For many years I worked as a lawyer in a small practice representing clients in the criminal courts and doing divorce work all of which has given me valuable raw material for my novels.

I still live and work in North Wales where the Inspector Drake novels are set.
You can contact me on

twitter @stephenpuleston


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