A homeless man. Violently strangled. No leads. Except his past.
An outsider himself, DS George Cross is drawn to this case. The discovery of the dead man’s connection to an old cold case then pulls Cross in further. Convinced this is where the answer to the murder lies, he sets about solving another that someone has spent the past fifteen years thinking they’ve got away with.
Cross’ relentless obsession with logic, detail and patterns is what makes him so irritatingly brilliant. It doesn’t exactly make him popular with colleagues or his superiors, though. He has numerous enemies in the force wanting to see him fail.
Red flags are soon raised as suspicious inconsistencies and errors in the original detective’s investigation come to light. Now retired, this ex-cop has powerful friends in the force and a long-standing dislike of Cross.
Set in picturesque Bristol in the Southwest of England, it’s not long before the city reveals its dark underbelly, in a case of intriguing twists and turns whose result astonishes even those involved.
Difficult and awkward, maybe. But Cross has the best conviction rate in Avon & Somerset Police. By far. Will this case put an end to that?
Delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour today for The Dentist by Tim Sullivan, the first book in the DI Cross series. My thanks to Emma Welton at damp pebbles blog tours for inviting me to take part, and to the author for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
The title of the book doesn’t give much away, does it? Nor the blurb. I think I was imagining some gruesome murders involving horrible things being done to people’s teeth and jaws. Thankfully, the book wasn’t as traumatic as I was expecting, suitable even for the squeamish, but none the less engrossing for that.
This is the first in a projected series featuring DS George Cross, and I have to say that he is an absolutely brilliant creation and one who puts a really novel and fascinating spin on the detective character. He is a neurodivergent individual, with traits and behaviours that give him a different way of looking at a case which can give him an edge over his colleagues in his clearance rates, but his atypical behaviour can also make him difficult to work with. The exploration of how his character makes him a great detective, but also awkward in his social interactions, makes for a really riveting plot line, but is dealt with very thoughtfully. The author also gives him some other great characters to interact with – his partner who is learning to work with his processes, his father who truly understands him, his boss who has to manage him, and the new recruit who has to get to know his foibles. The latter, in particular, has great scope for development in future books I think.
The case itself was gripping, with enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged and reading on. There were a few red herrings in the plot line, although I did feel one in particular was allowed to peter out rather than being pursued to its conclusion, but this was a minor complaint. This is an author who is an experienced screenwriter, feeling his feet in the world of novel writing. He does a good job but I am very confident that he will get better as he progresses and I look forward to seeing what he can do in the future if this is his debut effort.
I thoroughly enjoyed this new voice in crime fiction. The book was an easy but engaging read, with original and interesting characters and a lively and twisting plot with a satisfying conclusion. I would definitely pick up the next book by this author and look forward to getting to know DS Cross a lot better.
The Dentist is out now and you can buy a copy here.
Please do make sure to visit the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour for alternative reviews and other content:
About the Author
Tim Sullivan made his first short film before graduating from Cambridge University. His ambition to become a screenwriter was formed not so much by this experience but as an attempt to foil his father’s determination to turn him into a lawyer.
Within weeks of leaving university armed with a law degree he had met the film maker Derek Jarman and persuaded him to commission an original screenplay from him entitled BOB UPADOWN and so a career was born.
A few months later he joined Granada Television as a researcher. Here he was commissioned to write the first of many television scripts for the company. Two sitcoms entitled THE TRAIN NOW LEAVING and THE GREASY SPOON followed by the crime dramas MYSTERIOUS WAYS and MAIGRET.
While at Granada he was selected for the prestigious Directors’ Training scheme when only 26. Previous encumbents had included Mike Newell, Roland Joffe, and Michael Apted, more recently Julian Farino. Among other credits he directed CORONATION STREET, MADE IN HEAVEN, THATCHER THE FINAL DAYS and THE CASEBOOK OF SHERLOCK HOLMES with Jeremy Brett.
During this time he also co wrote the screenplays for the movies A HANDFUL OF DUST starring Kristen Scott Thomas, Judi Dench and Alec Guinness and WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD starring Helen Mirren and Helena Bonham Carter, both with producer the legendary TV producer Derek Granger (BRIDESHEAD REVISITED).
Upon leaving the bosom of Granada and venturing into the wild wide world of the freelance film maker he wrote and directed the movie JACK AND SARAH starring Richard E Grant, Samantha Mathis, Ian Mckellen, Judi Dench and Eileen Atkins. This led to a commission from New Line Pictures to write the screenplay WALKING PAPERS based on the Jay Cronley novel of the same name.
This screenplay came to the attention of execs at Universal and Imagine who then asked Tim to do a page one rewrite of a western for Ron Howard entitled THE PRETENDERS. Tim enjoyed working with Ron for over a year on this.
He then wrote an original screenplay, PERSONAL SHOPPING, which was promptly snapped up by Paramount for producer Scott Rudin.
He spent four months working for and with Jeffrey Katzenberg at Dreamworks animation as a production writer on the movie FLUSHED AWAY. Impressed by his work Katzenberg commissioned him to write a script for SHREK 4 which wasn’t used as a different storyline was decided upon as a director came on board.
During this time he was actively involved in British television directing the last ever ninety minute episode of the BAFTA award winning series COLD FEET. As well as a TV movie for ITV called CATWALK DOGS written by Simon Nye.
He was commissioned by the BBC to write a pilot for a TV series he invented called BACKSTORY as well as another pilot for the ITV network entitled OFFSPRING.
He also wrote HIS MASTER’S VOICE for the BBC as a radio play starring Rob Brydon which was broadcast in 2015.
He recently wrote the screenplay for LETTERS TO JULIET starring Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave.
Oscar winning producers of The King’s Speech, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman then commissioned an original screenplay from him entitled THE WEDDING DRESS.
Tim is writing and co-producing and co-writing an animated feature screenplay for Hasbro and Paramount which is in production and scheduled for release in 2021.
He has now embarked on a series of crime novels featuring the eccentric and socially-awkward, but brilliantly persistent DS George Cross. Set in Bristol in the south west of England, Cross’ methods often infuriate his colleagues and superiors “not so much a thorn in my side as a pain in my arse,” according to his boss DCI Carson. But his conviction rate, thanks to his dogged persistence and attention to detail, is the best in the force. The DENTIST is in the first of a series.
Tim lives in North London with his wife Rachel, the Emmy award-winning producer of THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA and PIONEER WOMAN.
He is currently the UK chair of the Writers’ Guild of America (West).
Connect with Tim:
Facebook: Tim Sullivan