Deadly Intent is the first in the Anna Travis/James Langton Series by Lynda La Plante. I reviewed the second of the novels in June. Having bought the book in a sale, I didn’t realize it belonged to a series, and even thought it was a good stand-alone read, I liked it well enough to go back and read the first and will continue to read the rest of the series.
DC Anna Travis is a young, green detective who is following in her famed father’s footsteps as a police detective. She gets her break when another of the DCs is taken ill and James Langton needs someone to step in. He takes on Travis more out of curiosity than anything else; with the hope she will prove to be her father’s daughter. He isn’t disappointed. Travis quickly becomes fully embroiled in a serial murder case where the victims have hitherto been older prostitutes but are becoming younger. With the death of a teenage girl, things begin to heat up very quickly indeed. Anna swiftly proves her worth as a team member with her dogged determination to be of use to the team and her quick mind which picks up on details and avenues others have missed. Unfortunately for her, she is a little too good and winds up playing roles even the most experienced police officers would find difficult.
Again, this is just a really good read if you like detective/crime novels. The characters are brilliant and I found myself often trying to give them advice of the, “no don’t open that door!” type because I actually cared what happened to them. La Plante has finally created a female heroine who is insecure, but doesn’t let those insecurities encroach upon her life. She gets on with things and as such is a good role model. I find a lot of female characters who have to have strength do when they need to, but only when they need to. The rest of the time they lean on others for support. Travis avoids this by using her own strength without making it an issue that gets in the way of her life. She seems balanced and well rounded as a person, which is just such a nice change.
The story itself is well written and contains enough suspense to make it interesting without losing plausibility. It’s also creepy without dipping into Horror, i.e. simply reading it will not give you nightmares. All in all, a really good book.