Malign Intent – A Murder for Crowe by Robert Craven | Book Reviews | Crime/Thriller
Malign Intent

By Grace O'Reilly

Malign Intent – A Murder for Crowe by Indie published author, Robert Craven, is the second novel in the Garda Inspector Crowe series.  The first in the Crowe series is entitled, A Kind of Drowning and my book review on that can be found here on Writing.ieMalign Intent – A Murder for Crowe was published at the start of this year, in 2024.  However, these are not Craven’s only two books as he has written several in different genres.  More information on Robert and his books can be found at

The honey bee on the cover of the book is sweet, excuse the pun, and a crucial part of the book, which you will realise at some point in your reading of the novel.

John Crowe has many issues, mentally, with an ex-wife and teenage son.  These are not helped by his alcohol, gambling and smoking, nor with his grumpy, brutal and volatile demeaner, nor his health issues with a bad diet, lack of exercise and smoking, (vaping didn’t work out) and his excessive coffee drinking.  “Coffee, milk and three sugars.”  (Now whenever anyone has a coffee with milk and three sugars, as the average sugar taker has, two, I will smile and think of Crowe!)

When a man is found dead by a woman riding a horse, Crowe is on the case.  It looks like the man committed suicide, but did he?  “Tag, bag and bury the bustard, Crowe…”.  It sets alarm bells ringing for Crowe when the dead man is found hung by a tree and that same man had extremely debilitating MS.  Something doesn’t quite add up.  Crowe may be many things, but when he has a hunch, he is like a dog with a bone, not letting go until he finds the answer, no matter the cost!

The blurb at the back of the book reads:

“An August bank holiday should be about relaxation, taking time out to see family and friends and enjoying a beer or two.  But when former gonzo journalist , Aonghus Hanafin is found hanging along a desolate, estuary, the nearest SIO to the incident, Garda Inspector PIUS  John Crowe, is called to examine the scene….

…Directed by his supervisors to close off the former journalist’s death as a suicide, Crowe delves deeper and find Hanafin’s death leads to a retired Chief Justice who is slated to take a prestigious appointment in Europe.  Crowe gets to learn of a Swiss bank account, with over a million Euros in it that may be fuelling a lifestyle that the retired Chief Justice, Barry Gartland can barely afford.

In this contemporary neo-noir thriller, in Crowe’s investigation into how Hanafin died, loyalties blur and justice and truth are not always  what they seem, placing him in the line of fire with a powerful elite…

…and may end up costing hi life…”

As a writer and a reader, I love Robert’s use of words.  In fact, I must ask him if he writes poetry!  I found that lots of the passages were poetic, and not in a traditional, flowery sense, just the sheer visual imagery is just breath-taking.  There is reference to a Thomas Grey poem, An Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes’:

““Have you ever seen a cat torture its prey?  Death on velvet paws…” said Moriarty

“Thomas Gray?” said Crowe”

“You like poetry?” she asked, looking up at Crowe

“Yes, a cat’s reach exceeds its grasp, and it drowns,” replied Crowe”

In some scenes Craven’s writing is so tangible, and you can visualise it as though it is happening before your very eyes.  Examples “gunmetal clouds”, and “…over the spuming white horses that crashed onto the shore.”

Also, his blunt wit and humour had me laughing at some points, and he swears a lot like myself, (colourful language).  The part with a FITBIT:

Malign Intent“FitBit?”

With a wince , Crowe worked the shirt cuff over the Fitbit on his wrist.

“Heap of shite, tells me how many hours I sleep and reminds me to go for a walk, it’s like being married again.”

I am already looking forward to Inspector Crowe’s next move!

© Grace O’Reilly

Order your copy online here.


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