Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison returns in Lydia La Plante's second novel in the Prime Suspect Series, A Face in the Crowd. Tennison must face the same old boys network from Prime Suspect, but in addition, racism factors into the investigation this time. When a young, black Jane Doe is discovered in one of London's poorest districts, chaos breaks out across the city.
I found A Face in the Crowd timely for 2012, even though it was originally written in 1993. The racial tensions, the political games and the endless tail-chasing seem to be the headlines of our newspapers on a regular basis. Sadly I think these themes may be more universal than timely. But as we in the United States find ourselves in the midst of political campaigning, this book of the Prime Suspect series hits close to home.
La Plante isn't afraid to lay issues in front of her readers. Some readers may not particularly care to be faced with them and project that denial into a dislike of the characters that represent or confront those issues. But the reality is that La Plante does an outstanding job of creating her characters and the motivations that drive them to behave the way they do. There's a sharp realism to her characters that readers can connect with and identify. It's the realism that makes readers as passionate in their love or hate. Few will be able to find themselves indifferent.
The strengths of Prime Suspect that I identified last month in my review are all present in A Face in the Crowd, and La Plante brings another tightly written crime plot that keeps readers invested from start to finish.
My review of A Face in the Crowd is part of the TLC Blog Tour for the entire Prime Suspect series. You can find links to additional reviews at the TLC site.
Prime Suspect (ISBN: 9780062134370) and A Face in the Crowd (ISBN: 9780062134394) are both available in trade paperback from Harper Perennial.