Cover Image: Plain Dead

Plain Dead

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Member Reviews

I read the previous two following this series and they have captured my imagination and I have enjoyed getting to know the main characters. I particularly like the back story as sad as it is, I think it makes him a better DI. 
Looking forward to the next one
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This is a fast paced detective/crime thriller. Although this book wasn’t the first in the series it did work as a stand alone for me. It gave such a good insight into the characters and good introductions that I wasn’t lost at al. I enjoyed the army side of the investigation - it gave me NCIS vibes but UK based. I really enjoyed the different relationships behind the characters too. This had some great diverse characters, it also covered religion and sexuality and had some great themes throughout. I’m definitely going to go back and read some more of this authors books!
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DI Ford is back and I loved visiting these characters again.  The mystery was very good with writing rich in detail.  
Many thanks to Amazon Publishing UK and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Third book in this series best read in order. A murder/suicide on army ground lots of twists and turns and a determined detective who also struggles with issues in his personal life. A good read.
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Called to an army base where an apparent suicide has taken place, D I Henry Ford is not convinced and despite the findings of the Army he makes it is mission to uncover what has happened….suicide or murder?
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Plain Dead is a book that is packed with mystery and misdirection, and which sees Ford and his team drawn into the sphere of the Ministry of Defence, the victim being a serving soldier who is murdered upon one of their ranges. Due to the nature of the location, the cast of characters who might feasibly be brought forth as suspects, and the very fact that the whole regiment are due to deploy within days, there is a real sense of urgency to the story, one which drives the action and makes it a tense, charged and often fractious ticking clock kind of mystery. Many want to dismiss the case as suicide, Ford is far from convinced, but time, and the commanding officers, are definitely against him if he intends to prove otherwise.

The book looks carefully at a very difficult, but still very relevant subject, one which once uncovered, really starts to make the story make sense. It  explores the issue of women in frontline roles in the military, and the inherent prejudices and limitations assigned to the role. But those prejudices are not always directed from where, or whom, you might expect. The author plays it very canny, not coming down on either side of the argument but carefully presenting the for and against in a way that makes you realise that perhaps there is no easy answer, and that what might be easily dismissed as old fashioned misogyny, is perhaps a little more complicated. There are many other issues addressed, ones which are perhaps a little more overt and whilst not acceptable or accepted, sadly almost expected, even now. It led to a very sorry conclusion to the investigation, one which can still shock but that was probably not surprising after all.

I've really loved getting to know DI 'Henry' Ford and Hannah Fellowes over the course of the three books. Ford is a complex character, suffering a touch of PTSD after the death of his wife, which means that sometimes his judgment can be brought into question. Fellowes has her own quirk of character which makes her interpretation of a situation often quite literal and always to the point. They make a brilliant duo, and compliment each other in terms of personality and skill set. They need all of that combined cunning in this particular case, but with Ford also distracted by personal matters, you can see his past trauma's coming to the fore. Andy Maslen has done a great job of weaving this into Ford's day to day life, driving the conflict and infusing Ford with even more determination to prove all he asserts is true. It made me more invested in the story, trusting Ford's instincts far and above where the evidence may initially lead. Seeing the conflict between Ford and his son, his hesitance in allowing him to follow his own dreams, for very obvious reasons, adds a really touching and emotional aspect to the story that I really enjoyed seeing explored.

Another tense, complex and enthralling instalment in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Brief Synopsis: A young female soldier is found dead on an Army base. At first glance, it appears to be a suicide. But DI Henry Ford launches a murder investigation because he has a gut feeling that things are not what they seem.

Thoughts: Though this is book three of the DI Henry Ford series, it can be read as a standalone novel. The characters are realistic, the storyline is believable, and there is a linear flow to the events. The narrative was well researched which made the scenery and drama come to life. It almost reads like an NCIS episode. It is a police procedural storyline (both civilian and military police). The suspect pool seems slim and bountiful at the same time, which makes guessing the suspect (if there is one) tough at times. Politics, Christianity, leadership opposition, minimal resource availability, and a race against time are all incorporated to bring a decent level of suspense. I was engaged throughout but at times it felt like such a slow read. I never lost interest, but it truthfully felt like I was reading it for far too long.

Thank you to Andy Maslen, Amazon Publish UK, and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a police procedural storyline or anyone who enjoys NCIS.
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The previous book in this series left open the possibility of a rift between Ford, his son and Hannah. In this, the third book in the series, it all comes out, but only after the mystery at hand leads Ford and his team in different directions, as they get to many clues, but not enough suspects. I think this might be my favorite of the series, as I think the main characters are finally showing their true personalities, and working together and not against one another. It's an interesting installment, and makes this series totally bingeable!
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A young woman is found with her throat cut in an off limits area used by the army for training purposes. She is a member of the Black Watch & initially this looks like suicide but DI Ford is not convinced. It takes a great deal of persuasion to allow him to follow his suspicions but his time is limited as the unit is set to go abroad in a matter of days. Along with his investigations he is struggling to allow his teenage son more independence as well as realising that one day he will have to tell him how his mother died.

This is the third book in the series & I would recommend that it is read in order. I like Ford & the team around him- particularly Wix the  CSI. This was another enjoyable read that kept me guessing & I'm already looking forward to the next one. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book.
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This is the third book in the DI Henry Ford series. Ford finds himself called to a local army base to investigate the discovery of Private Rachel Padley’s body. He finds himself under pressure from both his superiors and the Army to accept that Rachel took her own life but something about the case doesn’t stack up and a murder investigation begins. Determined to find justice for Rachel, and to prove his worth, he sets out in a race against time to find her killer before the regiment travel to Somalia for their next deployment.

As if the pressure of the investigation isn’t enough, Ford also has to contend with the anxiety of his teenage son being away from home on a climbing trip. Ford and his late wife had been keen climbers and it was during a climb that she lost her life – a tragedy that haunts Ford. 

This is a series that just gets better with each instalment. The character development of both Ford and Hannah – the deputy chief CSI – is very well written, with each book unveiling more about each. The relationship between the two is developing well on both a professional and personal level. Maslen has the pace just right and I’m keen to see how it plays out.

Overall, this was an excellent read with a gripping storyline, great characters and a unexpected twist.
Highly recommend this title and the series to anyone who enjoys crime fiction.

Many thanks to Andy Maslen, Amazon Publishing UK and NetGalley UK for the review copy.
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Plain Dead is a cleverly crafted police procedural with an absorbing plot and compelling characters.

DI Ford and his team investigate what appears to be a suicide of a young female soldier, but is it really suicide?  The investigators are up against a deadline as the army unit is going abroad, and officials are keen for Ford to wrap things up.

Though most of the story focuses on the police work, there are some really touching sections describing Ford’s relationship with his son and his grief over the loss of his wife. 

Anyone who enjoys police procedurals should love this addition to the DI Ford series. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for an advance copy of Plain Dead.
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Plain Dead is an exciting and very well written crime thriller, with a thrilling plot. 

The body of a young female Black Watch soldier is found at a test site for warfare. The authorities at the local army base, even at the police station are in a hurry to declare the death of the young woman a suicide, but DI Ford doubts it.
Is perpetrator ‘one of the lads’ from the Black Watch, or perhaps a member of the deeply religious community to which the victim’s family belonged?

With Ford - a single parent with a teenage son - the writer has given the "hard-boiled" DI a vulnerable and deeply human face.

***** 5 stars
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The book started with a great suspense and solid investigation. Somewhere along the way it got lost and the police were found chasing their tails towards a foregone conclusion. Didn’t really catch my interest.
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Plain dead by Andy Maslen.
Detective Ford Book 3.
Suicide or murder? DI Ford is sure there’s a killer to catch, but time is running out.

A young female soldier is found on Salisbury Plain, her throat cut and a bloody knife in her dead hand. Everyone assumes that she killed herself. But something doesn’t feel right to DI Ford; the whole scene seems staged. Convinced of foul play, and despite fierce opposition from the army brass and his own superiors, Ford launches a murder investigation.

Years on from his wife’s death, Ford is still struggling with guilt and whether or not to tell his son the truth about what really happened. When his CSI partner confronts him about the tragedy, he knows he has to confess sooner or later. But the living can wait; the dead are calling. With the victim’s regiment due to deploy to Somalia, taking any suspects and evidence with them, Ford has just days to apprehend the killer.

His career on the line and his relationship with his son in the balance, Ford has to work fast if he is going to bring justice to the dead—and closure to the living.

I enjoyed this book.  Great read. Believable characters. Well written.  Good plot and action. Everything you need in a book. 5*.
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Plain Dead sees the return of DI “Henry” Ford in the latest book by Andy Maslen and it is another well written, well paced and hugely enjoyable police procedural with a complex suicide or murder investigation at the heart of the book.

The story moves along at a good pace and the pages keep turning. There is also time for the series arc of the death of Ford’s wife to progress

Overall a definite recommendation.
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A vey interesting procedural that's the latest in a series I've not read- and I enjoyed this as a standalone.  DI Henry Ford has a lot weighing on him, mostly with regard to how explain his wife's death in a climbing accident to their young son.  He's not so distracted however that he doesn't recognize that there's no way Rachel, a solider found with her throat cut, committed suicide.  Not only does he have to fight upstream to find the truth, he's also got to do it on an abbreviated time line.  I'm sure fans of the series will see nuance I missed but Henry's an interesting character and the plot zips along.  Thanks to netgalley for the ARC.   It's a good one.
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I want to like this series and there are times when I’m captured by the story but by trying to over humanize the main character I feel that it just muddies the story line.  It’s a relatively quick read with a number of red herrings. So I guess it’s just an entertaining read on a rainy day and nothing more.
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Book Review: Plain Dead (DI Henry Ford #3) by Andy Maslen
(Published by Amazon Publishing UK and Thomas & Mercer, November 25, 2021)

★★★★☆ (4.25 Stars)

Ten miles due northwest of Stonehenge, the prehistoric archeological wonder at Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, lies the abandoned village of Imber, appropriated in 1943 and made famous as training grounds for American forces leading to "Operation Overlord" on June 6, 1944 - also known as D-Day. Subsequently used for "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland, etal, Imber serves in the present day as an artillery practice range and live-fire urban warfare training center complete with mock-up town structures and shanties akin to what be may encountered in the Arabian sands.

At Imber, a distinguished Highland regiment in the British Army called the Black Watch is training in full gear in preparation for deployment to Somalia. The origins of the Black Watch come from the "watch" companies organized during Scotland's Jacobite rebellion in the 1700's.

ON THAT COLD SEPTEMBER DAY AT IMBER, in front of a whitewashed mock-up building called the "Baghdad Marriott", Black Watch soldier Rachel Padley is found sprawled dead, slashed at the neck. She appears to have cut her own throat. But there also appears to be blunt-force trauma to be back of her head.

Her death falls on the purview of the Bourne Hill Police Department.


//   "The tissue is prima facie evidence of the square root of fuck all!"
                - DI Ford, in his unabashed, no holds barred style  //


Enter Bourne Hill major crimes team leader Detective Inspector Ford, no first name deemed necessary, nicknamed "Henry" for you'd-know-who, blues guitar player and crooner whose single most prized possession is a '62 Fender Stratocaster in fiesta red; single dad of 18-year-old Sam. Ford still has nightmares over ten years removed from the sudden death of his wife in a climbing accident at the crags of Pen-y-Holt Bay, Pembroke.

DI Ford's team and inner circle - Jan, Mick, Jools and Olly, all work under the aegis of Detective Superintendent Sandra Monroe.

Ford's team also includes deputy manager, Dr. Hannah Fellowes, nickname "Wix" for Wikipedia, the department's own breathing and walking fountain of knowledge, a senior CSI with a PhD in cognitive neuroscience and expert in forensic psychology - the psychology of lying - on top of her adjunct teaching experience at no less than the FBI Academy in Quantico.

Front and center in DI Ford Book 3 is the issue of the integration of women into ground combat roles, along with the lingering matter of "don't ask, don't tell" and the tenets and strictures of Christian fundamentalists.

And DI Ford finally comes to terms with the truth in the death of his wife at Pen-y-Holt.


I've read all three DI Ford novels, and, along with compelling, well-developed characters, British mystery writer Andy Maslen never fails to deliver the most interesting topics and settings for his police procedurals - with a fixed spotlight on a place described by the Sunday Times as a "... best place to live, - remains a divinely attractive and welcoming place".

Salisbury Plain, southern England.

Well-crafted, British police procedural at its best!

Review based on an ARC from Amazon Publishing UK and NetGalley.
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This review was originally posted on <a href="" target="_blank"> Books of My Heart</a>

I started this  <strong><em><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Detective Ford</a></em></strong> series, because Steve West was narrating, but a British police mystery is a favorite genre as well. The main character is a single dad, who lost his wife in a tragic accident six years earlier.

I love a story with layers.  We are in DI Ford's head and getting the story from his point of view. There is a combination of the police work which absorbs nearly all his time,  the time with his son who is growing up now, and the bits of personal life he has avoided.  He continues to feel his grief and guilt.

The case is on a military base which means working with their police.  The military wants to cover it up as a suicide but when it is clearly a homicide, they want to arrest the first plausible suspect and be finished.  His own command structure agrees since investigations cost money and they want them solved quickly.  Luckily, his own superior wants the actual killer charged, but Ford has a really hard time with all the restrictions and pressures which are in opposition to what he believes about the killer.

Personally,  his son is growing up, doing more on his own, even thinking about girls!  Ford is worried about both loosing him to normal teenage issues but also his judgement on how his mother died.  He struggles to give him space and support.  His forensic scientist co-worker is an ally but also fancies him.  He likes her but isn't really considering a relationship with anyone.  I'll be interested to see how his personal life progresses. There was some growth in <strong>Plain Dead</strong>.

The case is a pressure cooker. Nobody is happy with him.  Ford does gather the evidence and finds the killer.  It's a very dangerous process but I always enjoy the police strategy and procedures.
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I really enjoy reading this series because if you ignore the crimes, the other aspects of the stories are like our daily lives. In Plain Dead, Ford finally realizes that Sam has grown up and he needs to spread his wings, which is going to have an impact on their relationship. The main point is, is Ford ready and prepared for that? There is no doubt he will have to confront his demons. 
The crime in this story is one of hate and incapacity of people in dealing with those who are slightly different, A mother who is a fanatic and has her life totally molded in accordance to the church and her duties for them. A father who is devoted to his job in the Army. Both were unable to keep a family together as they had little contact with both - a daughter and one son.
The plot is extremely well put together, has lots of action, and gets the reader from the beginning. 
I downloaded a free copy of this book through NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.
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