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The Pick, The Spade and The Crow (The National Crime Agency #1)
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Book Club Selection > July 2018 Value Book Read - The Pick, The Spade and The Crow by Bill Rogers

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David Gooch | 4090 comments Mod
The Pick, The Spade and The Crow by Bill Rogers

When the body of a man is discovered in woodlands outside Manchester, a ten-year missing-persons investigation can finally be filed away. But this was no ordinary death: gagged, bound and buried alive, he was the victim of a sophisticated and sadistic killer. And there is something else that has the National Crime Agency puzzled. A single character carved into a nearby tree.

Newly promoted to the NCA's Behavioural Sciences Unit, Senior Investigator Joanne Stuart is determined to hunt down the perpetrator. Just as Jo's investigation begins to reveal links with other disappearances, there is another murder. This is no longer a cold case; she is dealing with the escalating violence of a chilling serial killer.

Stepping into a sinister world of secrets, symbols and rituals, Jo will have to confront the legacy of her own past and the violent memories that lurk there if she is going to solve this case. But at what cost?

Discussion Leader - AngryGreyCat

Book Link (Amazon UK) - https://amzn.to/2lH6uFs


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Beth Stewart | 610 comments Who is the discussion leader. Am panicking in case it's me.... I haven't even ordered the book!


AngryGreyCat (angrygreycatreads) | 565 comments I think it's me? I picked up this one for free I think on kindle
I don't know if it still is


AngryGreyCat (angrygreycatreads) | 565 comments I will post some discussion questions later


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Beth Stewart | 610 comments Oh thank heavens! angryGreyCat!!!!!
Was worried!


AngryGreyCat (angrygreycatreads) | 565 comments Questions to consider:

This is mystery read with a special Behavior Science Unit investigation like the US TV show Criminal Minds, which was based around the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit. How does this differ from a regular police procedural? Do you like this as opposed to the "local" police type mysteries?

Were there red herrings or clues you noticed that helped you piece the story together? Did you figure out the resolution ahead of time?

How did the characters seem to you? Likeable, relatable, fully fleshed out, flat one-dimensional?

How immersive was the writing - was the sense of place well developed - did it pull you into the story?


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Beth Stewart | 610 comments OK AngryGreyCat... first I need to
Order the book. Am not sure why I haven't done that??? Am obviously letting the group down.


David Gooch | 4090 comments Mod
Discussion Leaders Beth are posted in the opening post of the thread and will usually be the member who nominated the book for group read.


AngryGreyCat (angrygreycatreads) | 565 comments Beth wrote: "OK AngryGreyCat... first I need to
Order the book. Am not sure why I haven't done that??? Am obviously letting the group down."


If you have prime it still appears to be free :)


Erunyauve | 168 comments The book description didn't really give a clue as to the special remit of this unit, but I usually like that type of mystery. (I've never seen 'Criminal Minds' - I don't watch television, except for 'Sherlock' - but I did read a book based on the show and wished there were more.) In any case, I'll be keeping the questions above in mind.


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Beth Stewart | 610 comments Am reading now. This "unit" doesn't seem to work much like a team so that makes it very different from "Criminal Minds". And I don't see much psychology involved.

But am enjoying the read! Maybe because I am not into American TV shows. LOL!


David Gooch | 4090 comments Mod
Well I'm a third in and have to say it isn't my cup of tea so far.

It maybe that I have watched Criminal Minds and after about six seasons if not before found it too much the same thing all the time.

This book so far is supposed to be the new NCA Behavioural Science Unit but it seems to me it is all about Jo Stuart with very little from the others. Why only her out on the case looking at stuff and not the whole team? That is first thing that bugged me. Second was the first 20% of book spent too much on the new Agency's Manchester Office and surrounding area. As it isn't a police station and the criminals aren't coming back there then why. Who cares, get on with the crime and solving it.
Finally it hasn't taken a third of the book to get to obvious point number one that new boyfriend was at it with deceased's wife before he died. It was there in big neon lights but boy did she beat about the bush and then only get there second hand.
Sorry but unless it picks up this wont get beyond 2 stars.


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Beth Stewart | 610 comments I am 58% through and find the story line is dragging along. I agree that it isn't a tale of the "team"; it's about one officer who doesn't even know what to call herself. And I haven't figured out what the other people in the unit do


AngryGreyCat (angrygreycatreads) | 565 comments David wrote: "Well I'm a third in and have to say it isn't my cup of tea so far.

It maybe that I have watched Criminal Minds and after about six seasons if not before found it too much the same thing all the ti..."


I am with you for the first third, way too much build up of the station and the introductions. It was very heavy handed...this is so and so and here's his story... It actually made me put it down and read something else for a while.

I am now passed the point of the big adultery reveal and it seems to be picking up some steam.

I see some similarities to Criminal Minds, but I will admit I didn't regularly watch the show. But it seems like that they are basically office people and Jo is out doing all the investigating and having to make nice with the other forces whose "turf" she is working in. There doesn't seem to be any team meeting type element like in other crime teams - Even if you watch a show like Vera, she gets her whole team in a room and they throw ideas and things they've researched around.


AngryGreyCat (angrygreycatreads) | 565 comments Beth wrote: "I am 58% through and find the story line is dragging along. I agree that it isn't a tale of the "team"; it's about one officer who doesn't even know what to call herself. And I haven't figured out ..."

Yes it is very vague about the functions of the rest of the team. It seems that Jo is out there on her own and just created this, what sounds like a google doc, to share info as she investigates?


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Beth Stewart | 610 comments Yes, she puts her documentation on a shared drive .... Pretty standard practice for a team activity but this idea came as a recommendation by her girlfriend nurse! The whole unit set up just seems to be unrealistic. And she never seems to read anything presented by other members (or did I miss that?).


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Beth Stewart | 610 comments I have finished the book because I skimmed over the last 10%. I am feeling kind so I will give it two stars but really, it wouldn't be a book I would recommend


Erunyauve | 168 comments It's moving slowly, and I agree that the introduction of the team is rather heavy-handed. I think the author realised that the characters needed to be distinguished in order for readers to remember them, but I don't think the introduction did much to distinguish them, and as noted, we hardly see them.

I'm about 40% along, and at present, the DI doesn't have much to work up a profile on the murderer. Nonetheless, I'm liking her enough that I do find the book interesting, or at least, it was more attractive on my lunch break than going back to comparing lists of insured vehicles.


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Beth Stewart | 610 comments LOL! Pretty well any book is better than reading for work!!


David Gooch | 4090 comments Mod
Right I am done.

have to say that what I said before still stands in that it is all about Jo Stuart and the rest never come out of said office and most seem to do very little. It kind of short sells the National Crime Agency bit for me.
I did however think the idea of the Masons was ok so at least the story wan't totally poor. It was that that shoved it up one star for me and it is a poor 3 star read. I think I would be loathed to read another in this series to be honest.


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Beth Stewart | 610 comments Where was the "crow"???? Was it a symbol that I missed? Maybe in the last quarter than I skimmed through??


message 22: by David (last edited Jul 11, 2018 12:21AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

David Gooch | 4090 comments Mod
It was the line with the Pick & Axe,
represents a crowbar.
tenuous I know but there you go.


Erunyauve | 168 comments Things got a bit convoluted at the end, and I agree that there wasn't nearly enough of the NCA in the book. Although they did some profiling, it didn't really apply in this case.

That said, I liked Jo Stuart enough that I will probably read another book in the series.


message 24: by Beth (new) - added it

Beth Stewart | 610 comments Oh yes, David! I remember the line. Thanks!!!!


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