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Book Review, Crime, Detective Fiction, Mystery, Prolific Works, Serial Killer, Series, Suspense, Thriller

Last Gasp (DCI Jamie Carver #1) by Robert F. Barker


The last time Detective  Jamie Carver let a would be victim act as bait for a serial-killer, it ended badly – very badly. Now they want him to do it again, only this time the ‘victim’ is a Dominatrix.  As if he hasn’t got enough on his plate…  

A brutal killer, poised to strike again any time, Shadows of the past that still haunt his dreams. An investigation under mounting pressure to succeed. A beautiful woman whose bizarre lifestyle may hold the key to finding the killer.  

No wonder Carver feels exposed, and that’s not counting the young girl whose life he’s trying to save from ruin, or the ambitious colleague scheming to bring him down. As the kill-count mounts, evidence points to a link between the ‘Worshipper Killings’, and Carver’s last, ‘big case’. And when the killer strikes at the heart of the investigation, Carver knows that in order to protect those closest to him, he must confront what he most fears – his own failings.

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I am hooked! Who doesn’t love a perceptive, fair, and vulnerable detective with a terrible secret? 

Detective Jamie Carver has a lot on his plate. He’s given only a month to prepare for a promotion interview. He is dealing with a teenage crush from an impressionable young girl who is barely holding her dysfunctional family together which does not bode well for the Government’s Problem Families Initiative Program he’s heading up. He’s working hard to have a personal relationship with his beautiful singer-girlfriend, Rosanna. And his latest interview with the bold and inscrutable Megan Crane, Dominatrix and potential target for a serial killer called the Worshipper, has brought back unwanted and upsetting memories.

Mr. Barker gives us a great lead character who is reticent, eccentric, and flawed as he dives into the dark world of BDSM while hunting a sadistic killer. Carver’s partner, DS Jess Greylake, plays a big role by learning her partner’s eccentricities and having his back while others’ dishonorable intentions are to discredit him. Megan Crane is a force to be reckoned with when she manipulates everyone around her like chess pieces. The twists and turns build as the reader gets closer to finding out the killer who wants to bring Carver down. The reason for the killing spree is surprising as well as Jamie’s “savior”.

I highly recommend this gripping police procedural full of well-developed characters and an exceptional plotline. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series.

DCI Jamie Carver Series:

1. Last Gasp (2015)
2. Final Breath (2017)
3. Out Of Air (2018)
4. Family Reunion (2018)
5. Death In Mind (2019)
6. Breathe Again (2021)


The Last Gasp

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Born in Liverpool, England, Robert F Barker served thirty years as a police officer and detective, much of it working in and around some of Northwest England’s grittiest towns and cities. He likes to write stories that are dark and edgy, but still reflect the real world which, as he discovered, is often far stranger than anyone can dream up. As a police officer he learned that no matter where people live, whatever their position, they are never far from places where darkness dwells, be it an inner city sink estate where drugs are dealt and violence rules, or  a leafy suburb where neat gardens and lace curtains conceal the sort of evil that no one ever imagines – until the worst happens.

As a Senior Investigating Officer and Firearms Incident Commander, he experienced the pressures of running Major Crime Investigations, and learned what it mean to have to make life-and-death decisions in the heat of live operations. With that sort of experience, his stories are as authentic a portrayal of crime and policing as can be found anywhere in modern crime fiction.

He splits his writing-time between his family home in Cheshire, and the beautiful island of Cyprus, where he finds inspiration for a series of Cyprus-based thrillers which he intends will complement his UK novels.

Follow Robert on his website, Facebook, and Twitter.

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