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REVIEW: Crossed Lines – Steve Burford

Crossed Lines - Greg Burford

Genre: Mystery, Crime Fiction

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

“Victor really was a very good man.”

Why then did someone brutally murder Victor Whyte, an elderly man chiefly known for his dedication to helping the gay community?

Inspector Claire Summerskill and Sergeant Dave Lyon investigate and are drawn into the world of the Hereford and Worcester Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, a telephone helpline for LGBQT+ people. Operatives and callers help piece together a picture of the murdered man, and gradually a surprising picture of Victor emerges with the possibility of a murderer in the very last place Summerskill and Lyon would have thought of.

Even as they deal with this latest case, the two officers are forced to deal with turning points in their personal lives. Can Claire balance the demands of her position as an inspector with those of her husband and children? Is Dave ready to settle into a relationship with earnest young police officer Joe Jones or will he opt instead for the excitement of an almost certainly shorter fling with charismatic MP Sean Cullen? And what exactly is Sean’s real motivation?

Crossing Lines is the fourth in the series of Summerskill and Lyon police procedural novels.

The Review

“Summerskill and Lyon” is another mystery series that I follow by Steve Burford. Crossed Lines is book four in the series, and it has Claire Summerskill and Dave Lyon facing more than just a twisted murder.

In Worcester, the Foregate Police Department still raises its ugly head with homophobia and bigotry. Besides the bigotry, there are those who find ways to interfere in the work and personal relationship that Summerskill and Lyon have built.

DI Claire Summerskill is still dealing with her doubts about her husband Ian. For the sake of her children, herself and the job, she has to make a difficult decision.

Sgt. Dave Lyon is worried about his budding relationship with constable Joe Jones. Both are law officers working at Foregate. Dave hopes Joe can maintain professionalism at the station.  

With the murder of Victor Charles Whyte, age 72, Summerskill and Lyon are sent to investigate the Worcester and Hereford Lesbian and Gay Switchboard. The Switchboard was founded by Victor, along with his very good friend Roz Joynson, in 1970. Now the Switchboard has become somewhat archaic withthe advent of social media and the internet. Confidentiality policies also make the case of finding the murderer more difficult.

Dave is caught in the middle, finding himself the “poster boy” for the television interview about the case, which is really Claire’s responsibility. There’s also a magazine interview which he thinks is about the case, but which ultimately becomes more about him. Not only does all the publicity add to the friction in the station, but Dave has to wonder if MP Sean Cullen isn’t behind all of it. Dave plans to confront Cullen, but will that be a mistake?

Burford delivers with Crossed Lines, another complex murder mystery with twists and turns that keep Summerskill and Lyon on the move. It’s a fast-paced, suspenseful thriller which, as always, leads to danger. It brings the issues of bigotry, homophobia and age difference to the forefront. 

I love the addition of Joe Jones to the series, he’s such a delightful spark, and Dave doesn’t give him enough credit. I’ve liked Dave since the start, but he disappointed me just a little. I hope he sees that what he has now is very special.

Claire was outstanding in this story too. She’s not only dealing with her home situation, but she has a very deep personal conversation with Dave about cheating. She really tries to get Dave to see what’s really going on in his personal life.

In the way of secondary characters, Roz Joynson was interesting, and DI Rudge, WPC Jenny Trent and Sgt. Cortez, are all annoying at times.

Most of all, I totally agree with Claire. Cullen is a smarmy git! LOL… I have to wonder how far Superintendent Madden’s head is up Cullen’s ass!

“Crossed Lines” was a great read for me – a real page-turner! I’m ready for the next book in the “Summerskill and Lyon” series.

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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