Malign Intent by Robert Craven

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | Crime/Thriller
Malign Intent

By Mairéad Hearne (Swirl and Thread)

Malign Intent by Robert Craven is the second book in his crime fiction series featuring Detective Pius John Crowe, following on from A Kind Of Drowning (2021). Set primarily in the seaside town of Roscarrig, outside of Dublin, Malign Intent sees Crowe attempting to get back on his feet, after his mental health issues and his marriage breakup. Crowe now resides in a small bedsit in the town and is slowly acclimatising to life away from his wife and teenage son. He is quite a reckless individual when it comes to his own health, just about surviving on TV dinners, cigarettes and whiskey. Crowe isn’t all too happy with the cards dealt to him. In the radar of the powers that be, his job in the force is under scrutiny. Any excuse and he’s out. But Crowe pays little heed to his superiors, so when he is called to the scene of an unexpected suicide case, he is unprepared for the web of lies and deceit he is about to get tangled up in.

When the body is identified as that of the troublesome, but apparently, retired journalist, Aonghus Hanafin, Crowe is intrigued and sets about finding out more. His superiors request that he quickly wrap up the investigation and mark it as suicide but Crowe is unconvinced. When the evidence starts to pile up highlighting discrepancies, Crowe is determined to get to the bottom of it, with little disregard for his own safety and his career.

Roscarrig is home to the Chief Justice, Barry Gartland and it is on his land that the dead body was discovered. Barry Gartland is on target to take up a very prestigious EU appointment but there is a shadow over his reputation. Crowe, on meeting Gartland, is left with a bad taste in his mouth so sets out to investigate the truth of what happened. Crossing the path of such an exalted individual carries its own dangers but Crowe, no matter his own personal situation, is always driven by uncovering the truth and demanding justice.

Like a man possessed and with nothing to lose, Crowe starts to dig deeper than his bosses back at HQ want him to, unearthing a hornets nest that could put his life in serious danger.

Crowe is a great character. He has grit, with a slightly off-beat and irreverent personality. It’s not all police work though as we do get to delve a little into Crowe’s personal life. His temper has caused a lot of damage in the past and reigning it in is a constant struggle. There is a tantalising scene alluding to a possible development in the romance department but I expect we’ll have to wait for more as this series develops further.

Malign IntentThere were a couple of incidents in the plot that were a little disjointed but it did all, more or less, iron itself out at the end. Malign Intent is another enjoyable addition to this series. I am a fan of Crowe and his cantankerous personality appeals to me! It will be interesting to see where Robert Craven takes him to next.

(c) Mairéad Hearne (Swirl and Thread)

Order your copy online here.

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