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Deadly Virtues (Gabriel Ash and Hazel Best #1)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  310 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
In this fast-paced thriller, Deadly Virtues, acclaimed writer Jo Bannister proves once again why she is considered "one of the genre's best" (Booklist

The town of Norbold, England is famous for its low crime rate, thanks to the zero-tolerance policy of Chief Superintendent John Fountain. And Norbold’s newest police recruit, Hazel Best, is happy to help keep it that way. B
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ebook, 304 pages
Published March 19th 2013 by Minotaur Books (first published March 1st 2013)
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(showing 1-30)
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Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

Part police procedural, part cozy mystery, Deadly Virtues is an engaging crime fiction novel from prolific British author Jo Bannister.

When Jerome Cardy dies in police custody, brutally beaten to death by his cellmate, the incident seems likely to be written up as an unfortunate accident. But the law student's last panicked words referencing Othello, nags at Gabriel Ash with whom the young man briefly shared a cell. Rookie cop Hazel Best is inclined to dismiss the word of the man known as 'Ramb
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Dale
Aug 21, 2014 Dale rated it it was amazing
How refreshing to read a well-done British mystery that's neither a cozy nor a depressing chronicle of the downward slide of a middle-aged, alcoholic, divorced inspector. Instead we get a cracking good tale of flawed people coming together to solve a horrific crime. All the wild threads are woven together in a narrative that creates tension right through to the very end.

The protagonist is a man with grief and trauma so severe he's become unmoored and deranged, walking around his village, talkin
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Ubiquitousbastard
Nov 28, 2014 Ubiquitousbastard rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, fiction, cops, england
I think what I liked most about this book was that it wasn't a typical cop drama. Sure, it had the young female cop trope that's so prevalent, but instead of being useless, she was actually doing her job. And she wasn't paired off with a experienced, world-weary partner/father-figure. So sick of that trope, and I don't even read a whole lot of procedurals.

The parts with the dog (view spoiler) were a tad bit strange, but also kind of cute, so I'm mostly reserving judgmen
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Susan
Apr 11, 2013 Susan rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries, chic-lit
The three-star rating is due to the genre, which is slightly Nancy Drewish, and an awful lot of thrashing going on: a young policewoman named Hazel Best is assigned to a town in Northern England with a low crime rate. When a promising young black law student is murdered in detention, Hazel teams up with the often beaten up guy referred to by townspeople as Rambles with Dogs to solve the coverup surrounding the death. Bannister knows her beasts; the portrait of Patience the dog is fetching, and t ...more
Mona Harrison
Feb 24, 2014 Mona Harrison rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I enjoyed this book's well-crafted characters, including (especially?) the dog, and look forward to reading more about Hazel Best in future work by Jo Bannister.
Gloria Feit
Jul 08, 2015 Gloria Feit rated it it was amazing
On page one of this novel by Jo Bannister we meet Jerome Cardy, a 20-year-old black man, a law student and the son of a respectable hard-working family, who is involved in a minor car accident. But this normally insignificant event sets off paranoia in Jerome, who flees the scene when the other person involved, whose fault it was, insists on calling the police. Jerome’s terror become only more portentous when, before the night is over, Jerome is found beaten to death in the prison cell where he ...more
Monica
Jun 13, 2013 Monica rated it really liked it
Jo Bannister's gift is writing very appealing characters and placing them in well drawn believable settings where interesting things happen.

Hazel Best, the probational police officer, newly assigned to a town where virtually all the crime statistics (except drugs) are admirably low, is an idealist. Gabriel Ash, whom everybody thinks is simple-minded, is trying to put his life back together after a terrible loss. The only people he talks to are his dog Patience (a lurcher, who talks back to him)
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Colette Fehr
May 26, 2013 Colette Fehr rated it liked it
I enjoyed the characters Hazel and Ash and loved the dog Patience but ultimately the mystery and it's resolution didn't quite make up for the initial jolt of suspense I felt at the outset of the book. There were really no truly interesting surprises left for me in the last sixty or seventy pages of the book which made me want to just skim through to the end. I was engrossed by the characters and cared about them but the story needed to be built around a much stronger plot and mystery for me.
Anne
May 12, 2013 Anne rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
In Norbold, England, a rookie cop and a traumatized man who holds conversations with his dog set out to uncover whether the death of a college student in a police holding cell is an accident or homicide. Great psychological suspense and captivating characters make this a treat. Highly recommended (four and a half stars).
Andy Plonka
Apr 16, 2013 Andy Plonka rated it it was amazing
Bannister really knows how to write a great mystery story without resorting to technology or specialized knowledge to provide the solution. Her characters are wonderful and she offers well placd humorous comments to lighten the mood.
Kay
Jan 23, 2014 Kay rated it liked it
A good fast-paced read in the traditional British police procedural but with the addition of a very plausible talking dog and a man recovering from psychological damage that resulted from his career as an undercover agent.
Robin
May 02, 2013 Robin rated it really liked it
Intriguing characters were the best part of this book for me--Gabriel Ash and his dog Patience along with Hazel Best. It would be lovely to see them appear in another book. This was my first Jo Bannister book; I've reserved another from the library.
Gary Van Cott
Jan 03, 2015 Gary Van Cott rated it liked it
3.5 stars. A reasonably good book. I hope it is the start of a new series and not a stand alone book.
judy
Apr 28, 2013 judy rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Actually only a 3 star book but I'm a sucker for a dog!
Mitch McCrimmon
Oct 14, 2016 Mitch McCrimmon rated it it was amazing
This is my first Jo Bannister book and I am looking forward to reading the second in this series. What I enjoyed most about this book was the quality of the writing. So engaging, down-to-earth and unpretentious. No long-winded passages or 10 dollar words. Characters were really easy to get interested in. Suspenseful plot and great ending. Really had everything I could want in a murder mystery - more of a cosy mystery than one with a lot of gratuitous action or violence but then this is one of th ...more
Marianne Burke
Mar 07, 2017 Marianne Burke rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this first outing of a series.
Shannon
Nov 20, 2016 Shannon rated it really liked it
Jo Bannister (the author) is a gifted writer. I think she is mainly under the radar in the US; I can only hope she is more appreciated in her native Great Britain. This is a good book, with a strong plot, realistic characters (meaning they are multi-dimensional) who are likeable, even the not-so-honorable among them. (The real baddies are clearly despicable and no one wants to like them!)
Quick overview: there's a troubled loner in town who tries to avoid social contact at all costs but his thera
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Brenda
Sep 25, 2013 Brenda rated it really liked it
Gabriel Ash had spent the past four years in a fog of misery and grief, alone, lonely and quietly wondering if he had the strength to go on. His counsellor was his one constant and on her advice he got himself a dog. Patience was a perfect name for Ash’s constant companion; she was devoted to her master and even though they had only been together a few months, Ash found himself considering her, walking her and generally finding a little more to life than he had previously. But one night, out on ...more
Grey853
Apr 10, 2013 Grey853 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lynn
Nov 12, 2015 Lynn rated it it was amazing
Deadly Virtues is the first book that I have read by Jo Bannister and it won't be the last. The location is Norbold England. A young law student Jerome Cardy is running scared as he fears for his life. He does not want an encounter with the police. Gabriel Ash who the locals calls Rambles with Dog is nearly beaten to death by local teen thugs. The two meet in jail where Gabriel is placed for overnight observation since he refuses to go the hospital. Jerome is jailed for fleeing an accident scene ...more
Jane
I'm a huge Jo Bannister fan but somehow have fallen behind with her new series about Gabriel Ash. (My favorite is her Castlemere series.)

Gabriel Ash is a man suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Once he worked for the government, in a behind-the-scenes computer job. But he apparently got too close to something and was warned to stop. When he didn't, he came home to find his wife and children gone. Disappeared without a clue. It's been four years, and he still doesn't know what happened
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Mike Gabor
Apr 07, 2013 Mike Gabor rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
A young police recruit, Hazel Best, is the lead character in this book. A man, Jerome Cardy, is found in his cell beaten to death by another inmate. Before his death Jerome told another inmate, Gabriel Ash, that if something should happen to him it isn't an accident. Unfortunately Gabriel Ash has some very severe mental problems and isn't the most reliable witness. The only one who seems to take him seriously is Hazel and she will surely be risking her career if she persues this matter.

I was dis
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Scilla
Nov 10, 2013 Scilla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hazel Best has joined the police department of Norbold, known as a very crime free place. Jerome Cardy knows he is going to die, and he does, in a cell in the police department. Gabriel Ash is under psychiatric care and is know as Rumbles with Dog by the locals. However, after he was beaten up by young hoodlums and resting in the unlocked police cell, Jerome is put with him and then transferred. As he leaves he whispers a cryptic message to Gabriel. Shortly thereafter he is beaten to death by a ...more
Jackie
Jul 08, 2013 Jackie rated it really liked it
Intriguing tale of the death of a bright, young black man who was incarcerated for reasons unknown. He initially shared a cell with a troubled gentleman and his companion dog. He told this man that he was afraid for his life and had a cryptic conversation with him. He was transferred to another locked cell where another violent, racist prisoner was also put. So enraged right from the beginning, he beat the young man to death. A rookie cop and the troubled gentleman make it their mission to find ...more
Tricia
Sep 05, 2013 Tricia rated it liked it
I wanted to really love this book. I found the characters to be very engaging and well written. My problem is, I'm a story person. I've said it many times, you need to tell a good story. The story in this book with great characters, was blah. Really, from the beginning of the book I knew, or suspected very strongly, who the "bad guys" were. The reason for their heinous act was a mystery, but not who did it.

I kept reading only because I really liked the characters, all of them, even the bad guys
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Rita	 Marie
Jul 13, 2013 Rita Marie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-mysteries
Granted it's fairly obvious who the culprits are almost from the first page. But I didn't care. It's a classic plot, very well constructed, with a wonderful narrative thread.

The joy of this book is in the characters. They are all sympathetic (even the bad guys!), and many are both interesting and involving. I was rooting for rookie cop Hazel and poor Gabriel Ash all the way.

Will definitely be looking for more books by this author.
Cheryl
Jan 06, 2014 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Always enjoy Jo Bannister's books, in whatever series - or stand alone. Feel she is under-known, and under appreciated, in the States. (her Castlemere series is very good, IMHO) This was a good story - showing how a sensitive, thoughtful police officer, by listening to a witness, can make a difference. And enjoyed the witness and his relationship with his dog, as well. Recommend the book -
Carolyn Crocker
Dec 17, 2015 Carolyn Crocker rated it really liked it
Rookie constable Hazel Best is the only person who credits the account of tragically damaged, former securities analyst, Gabriel Ash when a young black man in custody is murdered, as her chief is being lauded by the city of Norbold for crime reduction. Thus is launched a police procedural partnership that will extend for at least three excellent mysteries.
Deborah
Jul 16, 2013 Deborah rated it liked it
The characters here were more interesting than the story itself, which was a little predictable. A new (female) constable in a small English town gets caught up in the murder of a prisoner in the local jail. Also involved - a local man, a loner who talks to his dog which a very bizarre history.

Hoping there's a sequel if only to find out how our loner's story reveals itself.
Becky
This was just too wordy -- obviously a set up for a series, but still. When you read from the points of view of too many different characters, and they all kind of think the same way, it's tiring. This would have been better, thriller-wise, if it was tighter, and it would have been better, mystery-wise, if there were more of a mystery.
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Jo Bannister lives in Northern Ireland, where she worked as a journalist and editor on local newspapers. Since giving up the day job, her books have been shortlisted for a number of awards. Most of her spare time is spent with her horse and dog, or clambering over archaeological sites. She is currently working on a new series of psychological crime/thrillers.
More about Jo Bannister...

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Gabriel Ash and Hazel Best (3 books)
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