J.S. Law


"I would certainly recommend you dive in to ‘Tenacity’..."


Lieutenant Danielle (Dan) Lewis is back after a years’ sabbatical from her job at the Crimes Involving Loss of Life division. A few years back Dan was lauded and applauded for catching a serial killer, but as with all fame, it is fickle and soon she was ostracised and her fifteen minutes in the limelight was brought to an abrupt end.

Now she is back and has been specially requested to head the investigation in to the suicide of a Royal Navy sailor, his body found on the nuclear submarine, Tenacity only a few days after his wife had been found brutally murdered.

Although she is only supposed to be looking in to the sailor’s suicide, Dan can’t help but feel certain the two incidents are linked. She also senses that the sailor, who she had known briefly during her days as a new recruit, was pointing to a murderer on-board Tenacity. With barriers being swiftly erected, Dan feels she is being thwarted and that someone doesn’t want her prying in to their business. Then she gets word that Tenacity is ready to leave for manoeuvres. Dan makes a quick decision and finds herself under water in a small and hostile environment. Soon she realises that there are frightening machinations within the deep depths of the dark waters.

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I was rapidly and completely submerged when I started ‘Tenacity’. Although Danielle Lewis is a bit of a maverick and not a team player in any way, she is portrayed as having a soft centre despite her hard exterior. Her long-suffering partner in crime, John Granger is a perfect foil for her – solid, dependable and patient – and I do hope that we will learn more of Granger in future novels. What I found particularly fascinating about this debut was the way that old traditions of the Royal Navy, some of which should have been phased out decades ago, are ardently adhered to with a weird sense of the superstitious. Law is saying that if something isn’t done in a certain way then it could attract disaster for a mission or for the vessel in question. It is these traditions that hold a bizarre fascination for those of us looking in from the outside. It was also interesting to read about the rigidity of the pecking order on a vessel. Law perfectly conveys the claustrophobia of a submarine and the stern mentality needed to cut yourself off from society for many weeks, if not months, to wander the dark depths of the oceans in a metal tube cheek to jowl with your work colleagues. For many of us this would be a nightmare. I imagine if you lived in a studio flat and invited forty friends (and that’s friends not mere colleagues who you only know at work) and asked them to live with you for a month then the novelty would quickly wear off. Plus you wouldn’t have to deal with keeping your elbows in and your head bent so as to avoid any protruding metal pipes or dials. And you wouldn’t have many takers if you included a nuclear reactor and they had to sleep under a load of missiles! When the submarine dived I felt as though I was being completely submerged along with Lewis. I could feel the onset of hysteria, of being trapped in that tube with metres of water above, to the side and below. ‘Tenacity’ is not a fast-paced thriller, but Law does keep the suspense susurrating like the waves on a shore: continuous and ever-mounting, reaching higher and higher. Law also has a good eye for characterisation and each individual was sharply defined. I would certainly recommend you dive in to ‘Tenacity’ and would be a superb choice to put in your suitcase. And if you are offered the chance of experiencing a submarine trip, I am sure you’d think twice about accepting once you’ve read this book!

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