Latest Reads: A Handful of Ashes Rob McCarthy



Publication Date: Available Now from Mulholland

Source: Netgalley

Susan Bayliss became notorious when she blew the whistle on her boss, a heart surgeon at a renowned children’s hospital. She accused him of negligence, operations were stopped and an inquiry launched. In the end she was the one suspended as a troublemaker.

Now Dr Harry Kent, a medical examiner with the Met Police, has been called out to certify her suicide.

But something about the scene is wrong. Someone held Susan down…

The grieving parents of the children who died demand answers. The hospital is stonewalling. Everyone has secrets – it’s up to Harry and DCI Frankie Noble to find out which were worth killing for.

I was the BIGGEST fan of book one in this series (more details below if you missed it) and with “A Handful of Ashes” I can honestly say this has moved up to favourite series status on my bookish wishlist – one of a handful I’m going to be hotly anticipating every year for as long as they continue. Long may that be…

I’m a sucker for a good medical drama and an even bigger one for a good crime drama – with the Harry Kent series Rob McCarthy brings the two together in a fast, addictive, well considered thriller that just had me blasting through it with little thought to anything else around me. Don’t you love those ones?

In this story we have a suspicious “suicide”, a possible hospital cover up, grieving parents, danger lurking around every corner and our (anti) hero Dr Kent slowly falling apart at the seams whilst trying to help our (anti) heroine Frankie Noble solve the conundrum. She’s not exactly the most grounded police officer ever but both of them are superbly engaging, inevitably flawed but so beautifully described in sheer force of personality that you just get pulled along with them. The plot is  thoroughly twisted, highly charged emotionally and has an ending that had me on the floor. I loved it.

I’d like to give a nod to at least one beautifully written thrilling scene in this involving a fight to save a life – as I came to the end of that chapter I found myself quite literally sitting on the edge of my seat (not that easy in a giant swivel chair) I had to sit and have a nice cup of tea before continuing on. That is not the only genuinely immersive bit of scene setting in A Handful of Ashes but it’s probably the one that will stay with me – What is great about it is that these moments are interspersed with quieter more considered moments and the author digs deep into the multiple layers that make up his characters, insightful writing that means you really feel for everything they go through.

Both the medical and the procedural elements that make up the story feel highly authentic, I am definitely one for the tortured souls in fiction therefore Harry Kent holds my attention (I may be a little in fictional love) and overall this is terrific writing, terrific plotting and well, just plain terrific.

Highly Recommended.

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Purchase A Handful of Ashes

Also Available: Dr Harry Kent Book One

Dr Harry Kent likes to keep busy: juggling hospital duties with his work as a police surgeon for the Metropolitan Police – anything to ward off the memories of his time as an Army medic.

Usually the police work means minor injuries and mental health assessments. But Solomon Idris’s case is different. Solomon Idris has taken eight people hostage in a chicken takeaway, and is demanding to see a lawyer and a BBC reporter. Harry is sent in to treat the clearly ill teenager…before the siege goes horribly wrong.

When Solomon’s life is put in danger again from the safety of a critical care ward, it becomes clear he knows something people will kill to protect.
Determined to uncover the secret that drove the boy to such desperate action, Harry soon realises that someone in the medical world, someone he may even know, has broken the doctors’ commandment ‘do no harm’ many times over..

Read My Review

Purchase The Hollow Men.

Happy Reading!

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2 Responses to Latest Reads: A Handful of Ashes Rob McCarthy

  1. I have read A Handful of Ashes. This mash-up between a police procedural and a medical thriller is readable and engrossing. The plot unravels in a nicely complex way and the NHS background feels authentic. However, there are perhaps too many ‘issues’ at play here: having both an alcoholic DCI and a drug addicted medical examiner working together in the same book is a touch too far, however highly-functioning they appear to be.

    • LizLovesBooks says:

      I disagree. I think it makes the dynamic all the more compelling and allows for an exploration of addiction on many levels. Lots of books have one protagonist who has issues, surrounded by other characters who are mostly well grounded. This seems less likely to me than two people who both work in a stressful and extremely emotive job both having problems and naturally gravitating towards each other. But this is why “no two people ever read the same book”

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