REVIEW: It’s a Sin – Steve Burford

It's a Sin - Steve Burford

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural, Detective

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

“He is a talented and very promising young policeman. Make no mistakes, he deserves the promotion.”

But when gay Detective Sergeant Dave Lyon is assigned to Detective Inspector Claire Summerskill’s team as part of the Service’s ‘positive discrimination policy’, no-one at Foregate Street Station is happy. And that includes Summerskill and Lyon.

Mutual suspicion and mistrust must be shelved however, when a young man’s beaten body is found on a canal tow path, and a dead-end case of ‘happy slapping’ unexpectedly turns into a murder investigation.

Why would someone want to kill middle class arts student Jonathan Williams? And how is his death linked to that of rent boy and would be ‘adult’ film star Sean?

As Summerskill and Lyon’s investigations proceed, the newly-promoted detectives begin to untangle a web of connections, false assumptions and sheer prejudices that force them both to question closely not just their relationship with each other but with the rest of their colleagues at Foregate Street Station and with the Police Service as a whole.

The Review

Claire Summerskill is married to Ian, who works in the school system, and they have two sons – Tony and Sam. She’s just been promoted to Detective Inspector at the Worcester Foregate Street Police Station. Working hard to get this big promotion, she feels worthy of a major case and is more than disappointed when she’s handed a “happy slapping” case by Chief Superintendent Madden.

Although she is disappointed, she thinks she will at least get to choose a new partner, but she’s given orders to work with the new transfer, Sergeant David Lyon. When Claire get’s a look at Lyon’s file, there’s somethings that raise her suspicions, and she has to wonder if she’s being set-up.

Detective Sergeant David Lyon has made the choice to transfer to Foregate Street Police Station for his own reasons. Besides the new and tense working environment, Dave also has issues to consider his relationship with Richard, who he’s currently living with.

Adjusting to a new partner is difficult for both Claire and Dave but they do what’s needed to get the case solved as what at first seemed like a simple assault case of “happy-slapping” turns into something much bigger, involving murders and gay porn.

The setting for “It’s A Sin” is Worcester, England and the verbiage really sets the tone for this story. This mystery is very well plotted, and gets very in-depth with police procedure. There’s subtle humor here, but on a more serious note, there’s bigotry too – where Dave is concerned, and about how a woman is treated in a mostly-male profession.

The author takes an in-depth look at both Dave and Claire as they start a working relationship. Both have to learn about each other and gain trust. I didn’t mind that this wasn’t so much about romance but how Dave and Claire have to juggle their personal relationships, lives and working situations when they are buried deep in a complicated murder investigation.

Burford has got me hooked with the “Summerskill and Lyon” series. This is an excellent mystery and a page-turner, and I’m more than curious to find where Dave Lyon and Claire Summerskill will go from here.

The second installment is “Body Beautiful.” Review coming soon.

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams. 

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