tenacityPublished: 2015
Author: J.S. Law

Claustrophobic and thrilling


One of my main bugbears with a lot of police procedurals is that the main character is always “damaged” in some way. Alcoholic, bad with the opposite sex, poor family life – no fictional top cop is ever well balanced and happy with their life. I understand completely that it offers an extra dimension to the narrative but when you read a lot of crime fiction it can become more than a little frustrating, and to be perfectly honest a bit of a cliché. So when reading that JS Law’s Tenacity featured a heroine with a problematic past I was a little dubious – could a procedural novel with a troubled past really offer something new?

Danielle Lewis is an investigator with the Royal Navy who is returning to the fray after a traumatic incident at the conclusion of a previous case. She has isolated herself from family and friends and is determined to prove that she can still solve big cases without relying on others. The body of a sailor is discovered onboard a submarine, apparently the victim of a grief-stricken suicide following the brutal murder of his wife. Dan refuses to believe that the case is as simple as it appears and enters the exclusively male, claustrophobic world of the nuclear submarine.

HMS Tenacity is probably the most thrilling setting for a detective story that I’ve come across in a long time. For the largest chunk of the novel, the action takes place underwater in the tightly controlled environment of Tenacity and Dan’s struggle to find any degree of comfort in her surroundings is perfectly expressed. A couple of times I found myself struggling to breathe as Dan’s situation became more perilous, Law brilliantly brought to life a setting and an atmosphere that very few of us will ever be able to experience. It came as no surprise to learn that Law spent twenty years in the Royal Navy and was an experienced submariner.

Danielle was a great heroine, whose “damage” was integral to the plot and the ending in particular wouldn’t have worked without it. If Law is to continue the series however, I’d like to see her open up more to friends and family and start to recover from her trauma. It can be frustrating to spend an entire book shouting “Just accept some bloody help” at the hero. There were some engaging supporting characters who I’d love to see developed in future novels, particularly

This is a fabulous novel with an engaging protagonist which takes us into a world that will be completely new and exciting to the majority of readers. I very much look forward to the next installment in Dan’s story.

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