Lynda La Plante has written nine novels and is the creator of the Prime Suspect series I adored with Helen Mirren playing Detective Jane Tennison.

So when I picked up La Plante’s newest novel featuring Det. Anna Travis I knew I was getting into a well-plotted book with surprises, and this one did not disappoint on that level.  La Plante writes strong female characters with more than a touch of realism, and Clean Cut follows that route.

Travis has been having an affair with DCI James Langton, whose emotional baggage comes to the forefront when he’s almost killed.  His obssessive ruthlessness on a case revolving around illegal immigrants almost destroys him and affects his relationship with Anna, causing her to re-evalutate him, herself and their union.

Here’s Auntie M’s hesitation: the novel lacks good editing.  La Plante uses the word “now” entirely too much, sometimes as much as three times in one paragraph.  I’ve found that writers who are used to writing screenplays tend to do this, but a good editor should have picked up on that.

I also bemoan her lack of apostrophes.  No one, Brit or not, speaks without using them.  Really.  The novel is filled with “I have”, “I will,”  “There was” etc. in dialogue, where natural speech would be: “I’ve” or “I’ll” or “There’s”  at least some of the time.  This has a jarring effect on the reader, bringing you out of the fictional world and cursing the lack of editing.

I perservered as this is the third Anna Travis novel I’ve read, so obviously I’m either a glutton for punishment or La Plante’s storyline exceeds the annoyance.  The other two Anna Travis books are: Above Suspicion and The Red Dahlia.

I’d be interested in hearing if anyone out there reading these novels is bothered by the same things…


Doc goes for an Xray and checkup tomorrow; six weeks and counting.  He’s hopping around twice a day on his good leg for exercise, which exhausts him, but at least he’s out of bed for one hour out of 24 now.