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If I Should Die (Joseph Stark, #1)
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If I Should Die (Joseph Stark #1)

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  165 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
If I Should Die is the astounding debut from British author Matthew Frank.

It begins with vicious, apparently motiveless attacks on down and outs in South London. But when one of the homeless victims dies from his wounds, it's murder . . .

For the investigation team's youngest member, Trainee Detective Joseph Stark, death is already all too familiar. Injured in an attack tha
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published June 5th 2014 by Michael Joseph
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Dana Stabenow
Jan 16, 2015 Dana Stabenow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite reads of 2014.

Joseph Stark serves in the Territorial Army in the sandboxes of both Iraq and Afganistan and returns home wounded (and how is in itself is a long, slow and positively delicious reveal). Honorably discharged as physically unfit for duty, he becomes a constable in training for the CID in Greenwich. His first case begins as a series of vicious muggings of the homeless, and one of the things I loved about this plot is that the cops know immediately whodunnit. Cops u
Nov 01, 2015 Raven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Somewhat belatedly I finally managed to squeeze this debut from Matthew Frank into my reading schedule. As the old adage runs, all good things come to those who wait, as this was truly one of the most well-plotted and compelling crime thrillers I have encountered this year…

What struck me most was how this book could so easily be all things to all men (and women) due to the complexity of the book as a whole. First, it is a socially aware thriller with the story focusing on the random attacks on t
Liz Barnsley
Really REALLY excellent debut. Poignant and full of depth with great characters. Full review to follow.
Margaret Madden
Review from Declan Madden

“If I Should Die" is an accomplished debut novel by Matthew Frank . It introduces the character of Joseph Stark , now a Trainee Detective but recently injured on active duty as a Territorial Army soldier in Afghanistan .

The story revolves around a recent spate of apparently random attacks on the homeless and down-and-outs in South London . Recent recruit Trainee Detective Joseph Stark is assigned to the team investigating these events as part of his training . As well a
Oct 01, 2014 RyooT rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books where you dread the ending - not because it's a bad ending for the characters you have come to care about so much; not at all, but because you know that at the end you, the reader, will be a cast out of this world, back into cold reality and will have to wait however long for another episode--another glimpse back in.
Not that the world described is a nice one--the intriguing thing is that the world described is painfully realistic. In fact it's most likely worse than an
Keith Nixon
May 27, 2014 Keith Nixon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joe Stark is a trainee detective constable. Based in Greenwich, he has recently transfered from his Hampshire home. But he’s no ordinary copper – Stark is a wounded war veteran, recently returned from several tours, most recently Afghanistan, where he sustained the physical and mental damage that still afflicts him.

Almost immediately Stark and his mentor, DS Fran Millhaven, are called to a crime. A tramp has been viciously beaten. A local gang of known troublemakers led by Nikki Cockcroft and Ky
Rachel Amphlett
Aug 29, 2015 Rachel Amphlett rated it it was amazing
I very much enjoyed this, the debut novel by Matthew Frank.

The protagonist, Joseph Stark, is a war-torn veteran out of the Territorial Army, struggling with both physical and mental injuries while he begins his rehabilitation as a junior detective based at London's Greenwich police station.

Although the police-based part of the novel doesn't break new ground, Stark's character is so exquisitely drawn that you're compelled to keep reading.

There's a strong supporting cast of characters, too and I a
Elisa Waters
Feb 13, 2015 Elisa Waters rated it it was ok
Not 100% terrible, but the plot is tedious, the characters are flat and Joseph Stark is a bit of a tit. I'll give the next one a miss.
Nicola Greer
Nov 20, 2016 Nicola Greer rated it really liked it
I really liked the main story and especially the Captain Pierson parts but oh dear, I did get mighty fed up with the war wounds and the needle from the sergeant, just too much. Also the first quarter was heavy going and unremitting in its darkness. That said I thought the characters were believable except for wonder boy Stark at times, but a series I can see me following in future
Phoebe Lim
Oct 03, 2016 Phoebe Lim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-fiction
For his first novel, the author did a pretty good job! The storyline was quite engaging. 3/4s into the book however, the story dragged a little and got a tad boring, but picked up speed again after that.
There are a few layers to the story, which helped in keeping it interesting for the reader.

He did a good job in introducing Joseph Stark too. It would be interesting to see how the character progresses in the sequels to this book.

(on a side note, it was really disgusting to see "Jesus Christ" be
Carol Peace
Mar 14, 2015 Carol Peace rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
It took me two starts to get into the book but through no fault of the author,
I was intrigued by the detective 'in training' Joseph Stark and his scars that are pointed out in the first chapter. He had been to Afghanistan and 'something' had happened to him there to leave him with lots of scars and the need for physio and phycotherapy which did not endear him to his Sergeant Fran Millhaven. She was resentful of the time he had off and annoyed that he would not tell her more about why or what ha
Mary Lou
Jul 06, 2016 Mary Lou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joseph Stark is a young Afghan war vet, badly wounded and now retired from the army on medical grounds. He joins the met as a trainee detective, and his debut is a very complicated case.

This read is a difficult one to get into and maybe a bit too long, but it’s difficult to imagine how a writer could create such an excellent, complicated character. Just when you start to get a feel for him, he slips out of your grasp, in the same way as he does in the story.
A lot of time is given over to Stark’s
Jul 04, 2014 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is hard to believe this is the author's debut novel. It is so well written and so compelling that I could not put it down.
Main character Joseph Stark is the Mets newest member. An ex soldier living with the nightmares of his past and the pain of his injuries, he is trying to not stand out as he attempts to keep his head down and get on with the job. Someone is attacking the homeless in and around South London, it looks like a gang of youths but the police are having trouble getting evidence.
Dec 21, 2014 Jacqueline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Almost discharged from duty (honourably), as physically unfit for duty in the Territorial Army after serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq Joseph Stark returns home to become a constable in training for the CID in Greenwich.
His first case as a trainee is a series of vicious muggings of the homeless. Though the police know who is responsible, proving it is not a simple as it would seem.
Stark is also going through physical and psychological rehabilitation. I found how he deals with or doesn't dea
Joseph Reynolds
Jul 02, 2016 Joseph Reynolds rated it did not like it
Boring and dull. Can't finish it. Needs about 100 pages cut out. First book authoritis here. Where was his editor? Painful 'banter' goes on endlessly. His grumpy counterpart just not convincing as being a mean bitch. No real conflict there. Plot seems okay, and maybe it gets better, but too much on his army problems. Very distracting and not interesting. Lot of withholding of salient past history. In general I keep putting it down because it is dull. And I think I've just put it down the last ...more
Mar 22, 2015 Jo rated it really liked it
This was a bloody good debut. There are a gang of chavvy youths beating up the homeless but the police are struggling to prove it. Enter Joseph Stark, former TA soldier and trainee detective. The main thing I loved about this was that, unlike other debut crime novels, Frank didn't go for the shock value or have the hero chasing a sadistic serial killer. Instead, we had a 'real' crime that could be happening in any of our cities or large towns and a plot driven by characters. Stark was annoying ...more
Mar 03, 2015 Just_me rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, crime
This book was quite slow to get into and I found it hard to form an image of where it was set but as the story progressed this disappeared. It then picked up pace and I started to get to know the protagonist Joseph Stark. This guy has literally been through the wars but is comited to queen and country and gives all to become a trainee detective inspector. He trusts his training and acts on impulse which usually gets him the results he was after.

I very much enjoyed this crime novel, but can't go
Jul 06, 2014 Sidney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This writer has a sure touch drawing the reader into the beautifully structure of this engrossing story of a new kid on the block Joseph Stark. How Stark deals with his own personal problems and those facing the policing of our society today makes gripping if somewhat disturbing reading at times. A wonderful start to what I can only hope is a new career for this first time novelist with many more Stark stories to come.
May 16, 2016 Katharine rated it it was amazing
Great debut novel. Other than a bullet wound and shrapnel from an IED the protagonist is perfect. Joe Stark - smart, polite, older than his 25 years, and possibly handsome in a battered kind of way. The drawn out story line of how he gets here is very well done. Smart police in a smart plot, great line-up of characters.

I am very glad I went to the effort of importing the book from the UK and I am looking forward to many more books by Matthew Frank.
Apr 14, 2015 Emily rated it really liked it
I like crime books on their own so this was always going to be enjoyable. However, this had so much more to it than a standard crime novel. It was fascinating to learn about the reality of returning to work after being in the military. Plus Stark was likeable if somewhat irritating at times, the same went for Fran. I liked that everything was not predictable & how even when you thought it was over there were extra twists/turns.
Barbara Bodem
Sep 13, 2014 Barbara Bodem rated it really liked it
Something to be excited about!

I highly recommend this book and look forward to the next installment. I will admit, that it started a bit slow for me. Thorny characters, unclear motives made it challenging to connect at first, but by mid-book I was hooked and by the end I was thinking this was one of the best debut books I've come across. Give it a read and tell me if I'm wrong!

Sep 21, 2015 Evelyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Excellent book, I could not put it down and look forward to future novels starring Detective Joseph Stark. The plot built from the start with the reluctance of the main character to open up to anyone. Not to spoil this for anyone I will only say the twists and turns kept me guessing and were well woven into the story. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good detective story.
Feb 22, 2015 David rated it really liked it
I liked the pace and the character development. A good read with shortish chapters which I always find makes a boom more pick-up-able. It helped that Greenwich/Woolwich was 'my patch' as a youngster but the storyline could apply equally to any major city. I'd recommend this book and would seek out other work by the same author. Try it, I'm guessing that you wont be disappointed.
Anne Fox
Apr 12, 2015 Anne Fox rated it it was amazing
I can't wait for the next one in the series. Loved the main character Stark, interesting back story. Lots of twists and turns.
Tracey Brown
Very compelling however the romance was clumsy and unnecessary. If you can ignore that it is a great read.
Aug 31, 2016 Judi rated it it was amazing
Great book! If you haven't read this, you should. The next one comes out next week, 9/6/16 - can't wait to read it.
David Madara
Jun 10, 2015 David Madara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime, mysteries
Fantastic debut of a series, hopefully to be many more!! Trainee Joseph Stark is a great character... Solid cast of characters. The only bad thing is waiting for the next book!!
Mar 07, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it
It took about 100 pages to get into this book. It was slow to start and just seemed to plod along and I nearly gave up. I'm so glad I didn't as it turned out to be a good read.
Jenna rated it it was amazing
Oct 01, 2016
Michelle Stevenson
Michelle Stevenson rated it liked it
Jun 25, 2014
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Matthew Frank lives in Kent with his wife and three young sons. Between family life and work as an architect he tries to squeeze in a bit of mountain biking, scuba diving and midnight writing.
More about Matthew Frank...

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