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Black Dog (Cooper & Fry #1)

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,998 Ratings  ·  200 Reviews
It's a long, hot summer in the Peak District, but the blue skies are darkened by police helicopters and the sound of birdsong is drowned out by the increasing hysteria of a full-scale search operation for a missing teenage girl. Laura Vernon is smart, sexy and the keeper of many secrets, but now she's lying dead in a thicket in the heart of the country.

The first outing for
Published (first published January 1st 2000)
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Apr 19, 2010 Kathleen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: folks who enjoy the brit mysteries
Recommended to Kathleen by: fantastic fiction, Susan Hill site
Shelves: mystery, 2010, british, police
Got this thru ILL since no library in the area possessed a copy. And now I know why..... Several times I wanted to just throw it across the room: frustrating, a VERY annoying female sidekick (who is about as uncouth as they come)- what kept me going was: I knew the solution was right in front of me & wanted to see it thru.
That, and I figure this book, the first of a series with Ben Cooper, was all about background & setting up the scene for the upcoming books.
Perhaps I'll read more of Mr
Aug 29, 2015 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pleasantly twisted police procedural set in the Peak District of England. If you have any inkling you might read this book, I suggest you to read none of the reviews or summaries readily available—including this one—because they will diminish your reading pleasure.

If you’re still with me, I said the preceding because I did read some of those reviews and they spoiled the story for me. Since you won’t be reading the book or you wouldn’t be reading this (you are following my advice, aren’t you?),
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
I'd been looking out for new authors I might enjoy and this book came from the Goodreads recommendations. It is the debut novel, circa 1999, and I was delighted to see there are 11 books in all in this series. I really liked it, it did "just what it said on the tin", so to speak. Sometimes, the blurb on the back cover can be a little misleading, but not in this case. It had a great plot, characters and it was totally grounded and realistic. Set in the Peak District, D.C. Diane Fry arrives to tak ...more
Nov 24, 2014 Paula rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk-mystery
How frustrating! There were things here I really wanted to enjoy. In particular, a trio of very well drawn elderly male characters are like nothing else I've seen in the mystery genre or, really, anywhere. The intersection of the "Black Dog" of local mythology and an actual black dog (or two) is also well done. However, there were several things that consistently interrupted my ability to enjoy this book.

For one thing, the author infodumps with a heavy hand. Not only are passages too full of un
Oct 15, 2013 Priya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review: http://peskypiksipesternomi.blogspot....

Wow. This is a fantastic read. Not only am I going to wholeheartedly recommend Black Dog to everyone, I'm going to go ahead and read the rest of the Ben Cooper & Diane Fry series; if the twelve books that follow are anything like this one, I know I'll love them. It is a unique story, with all the pieces of the intricately crafted puzzle falling smoothly in place at the end.

You know, in most popular mysteries (the few that I have read, anyway) t
Aug 21, 2013 Maddy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tops, 2000-reads
The Vernon family are an anomaly in the Peak District. They are very well to do, and their lifestyle is in stark contrast to the farmers and other working people of the area. Graham Vernon entertains his business contacts royally; their palatial home is cared for by gardeners and other servants. However, even the wealthy are not immune to crime. Their 15-year-old daughter, Laura, goes missing. Shortly before her disappearance, she was seen in the gardens with a young man. Have they run away toge ...more
Nov 29, 2013 Fenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The murder of a girl sets off an investigation through which the reader gets to know every person in the village. I kept on reading to find out about the secrets most of the characters seem to be carrying. The author has skilfully and artfully set up the story line with allusions indicating there is much more to the various characters than at first meets the eye. Meanwhile the ways in which the various police departments relate to one another gives another dimension to the story.

The reader is ke
I had a discussion over a book a few weeks ago, an argument really, and my side was “I can still love the book even if I hate the characters, even if they are the main characters”. This one almost pushed me to their side of the argument.

I had to stop a lot in the first 100-pages of the book and remind myself “It is British procedural.. it is a British procedural crime novel that won a bunch of awards… you like British crime novels.. channel Robbie Cultrane (Cracker)” What is the difference? It i
Aug 01, 2015 Kellyann rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Booth's got some good story-telling skills. This debut, however suffers from two problems: a tendency to overt foreshadowing, which strikes the reader like a neon sign in a forest, and a seriously disappointing main female character.

It's the second that troubles me more. Diane Fry is your typical driven, damaged, almost inhumanly-focused female detective (a trope I've been encountering far too often in mystery novels lately, though only in those written by men). Depicting your women as insecure,
May 14, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure if this is the oddest way to find a book recommendation but last week on the night before the election I was watching Jeremy Paxman being interviewed on Newsnight about his preparations for election night. Filmed in front of a bookcase full of crime novels I noticed the name Stephen Booth in bold and then found him in the library. Anyway an enjoyable crime novel set in the heart of the Peaks and introduces two young detective constables who are polar opposites Ben Cooper and Diane F ...more
I read the fourth book in this series many years ago – so long ago that I really don’t remember much of it except main characters Fry and Cooper – and that I enjoyed it. When I saw their names come up somewhere not too long ago, it stirred a memory of that book and got me curious to read more.

Like Deborah Crombie’s Kincaid & James series, this one is set in England but Booth’s style is enough different that this book didn’t feel like a knockoff of her work or an attempt to cash in via a simi
Cynthia Pratt
Start of a new English police series for me. While the main characters were interesting, the mystery seemed to drag on too long. I didn't guess the killer but I seldom do so I was surprised once again. Have the next two books in the series so I will see how it goes. There was a section regarding "black dog" which seems part of a superstition hence the title. Did not add anything to the story that I could determine.
Jul 27, 2010 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love books like this. I love books where everything gets tied together at the end. Even things that didn't seem important while you are reading are revealed to be important in the end...they are like clues that were given to you that you completely overlooked while reading. I was very surprised at the end who the murderer turned out to be. I think it's hard these days to write a good murder mystery that keeps the reader guessing.

In addition, the characters were dynamic and lifelike. Everybody
Richard Massey
Quite enjoyed it. However, am already reading quite a few crime series so will struggle to fit it in. If I do see any in charity shops will probably pick them up. The characters were good & I could see them dove tailing well in the follow up books. One complaint was that I did figure out who had done it about 300 pages in.
This books was okay but I had a few problems with it. It was verbose to the extreme. While listening, I occasionally found myself unconsciously rolling my eyes and saying "Get on with it!" in my head though maybe it wouldn't have been as annoying in print. An okay mystery plot with a murderer who is a surprise mostly becasue his motive is weak in the extreme. Only one really likeable character and somewhat cheaply tries to make the reader sympathetic with one of the other characters by giving th ...more
M. Diane Mattson
Mar 23, 2014 M. Diane Mattson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't try to guess who was the killer.

I enjoyed this story although in the beginning it was very hard to continue through all of the extraneous descriptive filler. The author wasted too much of my time because I had to skip over and over stuff that was uninteresting. Too much detail regarding the area, the landscape, the hills, the roads, the weeds on the side of the roads, and the potholes. This must be why the books all appear to average about 500 - 600 plus pages. A book or novel should be ab
Graham Botha
Apr 11, 2014 Graham Botha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first, the reader becomes frustrated with Booth's slow oblong plot, but soon it becomes evident that it is all about the characters and the plot is just the stage upon which his characters perform. That being said, he does spin a good detective yarn with murder, deceit and twists that hold the reader's interest.
Wanda Hartzenberg
May 23, 2014 Wanda Hartzenberg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Black Dog written by Stephen Booth
Narrated by David Thorpe
Running time 13H and 22 min.

I must confess, when I started this book I was less than enthusiastic about the plot, the narrator etc.

It took me forever to get into the story. I have no use though for giving up on an audio book. They cost a fortune here in South Africa so once I get my hands on one I stick with it. Especially since I mostly listen to these books at work while doing normal admin tasks etc.

So I stuck with this one. And
Mom Taxi Julie
May 10, 2014 Mom Taxi Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Black Dog by Stephen Booth was our book club book for March. I was so busy I never got the book finished but I made myself finish it before I started Yellow Crocus.

The main players:

Laura Vernon, a precocious 15 year old girl who is found dead. She was seen with a young man on the grounds of the estate she lives on. The young man worked for the estate and goes missing soon after she is found.

Laura's family is her mother, who is pretty much out of it most of the time, her father who in the beginn
I really wanted to like this book. It is the first of a series featuring police officers Ben Cooper and Diane Fry set in the Peak District. In this one, the case they work on is the murder of a 15 year old girl, Laura Vernon. Ben and Diane are both detective constables in this book and are therefore given relatively menial tasks, so many of the scenes where suspects and witnesses are interviewed feature DCI Tailby, who appears to have no personality whatsoever.

Diane has some mystery in her past
Oct 19, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The hype of this one’s ads is “for fans of Louise Penny” or something like that. Is this as good as Gamache? No. Is it good in its own right? Yes. Booth bring us to rural England, where police officer Cooper is a second generation officer dealing with his father’s fine reputation, among other things, and officer Fry is a newcomer, one with a history that has influenced her reasons for being out in the country now after having been in the city. The mystery revolves around a fifteen year old girl ...more
Catherine Thompson
At the height of summer in the Peak District, Detective Constable Ben Cooper finds the body of missing teen Laura Vernon. Suspects abound: could the murderer be Lee Sherratt, a young man employed until recently by Laura's parents as a gardener? Or could it have been her own father, Graham Vernon, successful businessman and host of exciting parties at his home, The Mount? Cooper's instincts say it's someone else... someone not yet considered...

But instincts count for little with newly transferred
Now that I’m about to catch up on Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins series (just one more novel to read left there), it’s time to look for a successor, which in this case mean a series of crime novels with a focus on British village life which is the aspect I always enjoyed most with the Merrily Watkins novels. Stephen Booth’s Cooper and Fry series looked promising, so I decided to give its first volume, Black Dog, a try.

Black Dog is set in an area called the Peak District which I am somewhat embar
Dead John Williams
May 31, 2015 Dead John Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I imagine that this is TV series in the UK now.

A popular local bobby teamed up with a hard bitten female detective insepctor from the big smoke. There is all the frission you’d expect from this kind of typical male/female pairing set in a crime/detective genre.

To be honest I really like this series. Set in the Peak District, the land becomes another character who is both good and evil by turns, sometimes helping the good guys sometimes hindering them.

There is always a sub-story in his books. In
Carol Jean
Feb 18, 2014 Carol Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nicely layered depiction of English village life, but I got a bit disoriented geographically several times! I had a hard time understanding why Cooper just didn't backhand Fry for some of the remarks she made to him before she even knew him, and I wasn't completely convinced by the resolution. Still, overall a very good read.
Dec 29, 2015 Irene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like SB's writing style. I had started this series out of sequence and maybe that was a good thing. SB has a good way of giving his characters depth and he let's you feel with them. However I was not too happy with the lead female character. Why do strong women have to be described as somehow damaged through abuse to be made strong characters? I have yet to see a differently crafted role for a female investigator. That said I'm glad I did not read this as the first Ben Cooper/Diane Fry story. ...more
Catherine Alhinc
I first read Black Dog in 2000, the year it was published I think. In those days, ebooks didn't exist; I was a member of a Book Club, and got Black Dog as "selection of the month" in hardcover.
I loved it!
When I recently saw Stephen BOOTH's books available in Kindle edition, I bought Dancing With The Virgins. However, before starting it, I decided to read Black Dog again.
15 years after the first time, not only I''ve found it as good as before, but even better.
The pace is slow, the way I like it i
Nov 07, 2012 Glen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read with interesting characters and set in local places has left me eager to pick up Stephen Booth's next book...and I am now reading Dancing With Virgins
Joseph M. O'Connor

Stephen Booth's first novel showcases all his promise. It's well-written, beautifully detailed and populated with vibrant characters that anyone can relate to. Like many titles from within the British Murder Mystery genre, Black Dog deceives; it seems that nothing happens page after page after page. Then an entire section of the plot appears to coalesce in wonderful detail. You'll alternately love and hate the protagonists. You'll want to first condemn and then console vari
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Black Dog by Stephen Booth 1 2 Aug 11, 2012 06:59PM  
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A former newspaper journalist, Stephen Booth is the creator of two young Derbyshire police detectives, DS Ben Cooper and DS Diane Fry, who have so far appeared in 14 crime novels, all set in and around England's Peak District.

The Cooper & Fry series has won awards on both sides of the Atlantic, and Detective Constable Cooper has been a finalist for the Sherlock Award for the Best Detective cr
More about Stephen Booth...

Other Books in the Series

Cooper & Fry (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Dancing with the Virgins (Ben Cooper & Diane Fry, #2)
  • Blood on the Tongue (Ben Cooper & Diane Fry, #3)
  • Blind To The Bones (Ben Cooper & Diane Fry, #4)
  • One Last Breath (Ben Cooper & Diane Fry, #5)
  • The Dead Place (Ben Cooper & Diane Fry, #6)
  • Scared to Live (Ben Cooper & Diane Fry, #7)
  • Dying to Sin (Ben Cooper & Diane Fry, #8)
  • The Kill Call (Ben Cooper & Diane Fry, #9)
  • Lost River (Ben Cooper & Diane Fry, #10)
  • The Devil's Edge (Ben Cooper & Diane Fry, #11)

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