The dustjacket reads: “The first in an exciting new mystery series featuring ex-police dog handler Daniel Whelan”. That statement, coupled with a great dustjacket was all I needed to crack the book open.
About twenty years ago I devoured all the Dick Francis novels I could get my hands on. However, I moved on to other authors and sort of forgot what it was I liked about his writing. All I can say is that Lyndon Stacey would make a worthy successor to Dick Francis. The author’s love of all things equine and canine is very obvious.
“No going back” is the first novel by this author that I have read and I’ll admit, that only after reading the novel did I realize the author was a woman. Her writing style and her name didn’t give that fact away. The writing is fast-paced and absorbing with elements of suspense and danger that permeate the novel.
The setting, the brooding and wintry Dartmoor was an integral element to the story. The protagonist, Daniel Whelan is an ex-police officer/dog-handler (at age 28!) The reader wonders why he left the force and this information is not divulged until a fair way into the book. It is evident that Daniel has an upstandingly moral personality and all the instincts of a good copper.
He now works as a truck driver delivering feed to stables and pet stores. He faithful sidekick Taz, his german shepherd, travels with him on his rounds. Because of his police training, Taz is a great tracking dog. When two young sisters are lost on Dartmoor, Daniel and Taz are called to conduct a search. When one of the sisters is found she does not seem to be happy to be rescued… she seem frightened. Daniel is tormented by the questions “Did he do the right thing handing the girl over? What had the girls been running from?”
Meanwhile, Daniel’s personal life is in turmoil. Since his dismissal from the police he is estranged from his wife and eight-year-old son, Drew. This pains him greatly. Trying to create a rapport with his son is interrupted by Katya, the girl he rescued on the moor. His aid is enlisted to help locate her sister. He was correct to be suspect of the reason for the sisters running away. It turns out they are Romanian girls brought to England for reasons less than savory…
In his quest to reunite the sisters, he makes some good friends along the way. I’m hoping that Daniel, Taz and his new friends will return in a sequel. I’ll be queuing up to read it.