In Jeffrey Archer’s ‘Over My Dead Body,’ William Warwick Vows to Catch His Prey [REVIEW]

Man in black suit standing in front of crime board
Detective Chief Inspector William Warwick is always on the job. (Photo courtesy Canva)

When fabulous art is whisked away to international destinations under the watchful gaze of a very cautious attorney, it raises more than one red flag among the dedicated men and women at the Metropolitan Police. But will they be able to catch the criminal behind it all? A fiendish mastermind, a determined detective, and an undercover operative face off in Jeffrey Archer’s latest William Warwick thriller, Over My Dead Body.

Jeffrey Archer's OVER MY DEAD BODY
HarperCollins

On a ship bound for New York, Detective Chief Inspector William Warwick and his wife are finally getting to take a much-needed vacation. But then someone on board dies, and he finds himself working a case once again, much to his wife’s chagrin.

Later, back in London, Warwick is put in charge of a new cold case unit. For some, this may seem like a demotion. But for Warwick and his team, it is the opportunity to dig deep and bring closure to some sticky case files once and for all. But that may be easier said than done.

And finally, someone from Warwick’s past—a convicted millionaire forger and art thief—seems to have somehow been resurrected from the dead. Is Miles Faulkner still alive, or is someone else picking up where he left off? Only Warwick has the tenacity to find out for sure.

In a novel that is at times reminiscent of Murder on the Orient Express, The Thomas Crown Affair, and Sherlock, readers will find themselves both enchanted and perplexed by crimes and characters that are always far more than they appear. The result is a delicious shell game of a novel that will test your powers of deduction and see just how closely you can pay attention.

The last time I picked up a Jeffrey Archer book was to read As the Crow Flies way back in 1991. Over My Dead Body is a different animal altogether. Although Archer once again proves himself a very capable writer, this book is more mystery/police procedural than historical epic. Nevertheless, his characters remain carefully drawn and instantly relatable, and I found myself greatly enjoying the way Warwick operates.

There is a great deal going on here, and despite the complex storyline, Archer wields all the threads of his tale with practiced skill, tugging at them like Stromboli—the puppeteer in Pinocchio—until every character maneuvers through the story with ease. Then, just when we think Warwick is about to apprehend his prey, Archer tugs hard on one of those threads, changing the story’s direction and increasing tension with the flick of a wrist. It makes for a very engaging story.

Archer does a great job crafting unforgettable characters, and Warwick seems like the kind of man most of us would enjoy working for. He’s smart, shrewd, loyal, and just. Although most of his interactions are with his colleagues or wife, I became quite fond of one minor character in particular, a young man we meet in the beginning of the novel named James. In many ways, James likely reminds Warwick of himself as a youth, and their mutual admiration for one another’s grey cells (as Hercule Poirot would say) becomes the basis for a fast and ready friendship between the two of them that is quite compelling and endearing. I hope to see more about their friendship in future books.

While Over My Dead Body is the fourth book in this series, it doesn’t appear that you need to have read the first three novels to enjoy this installment. Archer does a great job familiarizing us with everyone involved and helping us play catch up on any details we may have missed or forgotten. The result is a story that is by turns funny, intense, sinister, sad, and ultimately optimistic. If you enjoy watching shows like Masterpiece’s Grantchester or reading books by authors like Elly Griffiths and P.D. James, you simply must give this novel a try. I think you’re going to love it!

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Jeffrey Archer, whose novels and short stories include the Clifton Chronicles, the William Warwick novels, Kane and Abel and Cat O’ Nine Tales, has topped the bestseller lists around the world, with sales of over 275 million copies.

He is the only author ever to have been a number one bestseller in fiction, short stories and non-fiction. He is published in 97 countries and more than 33 languages.

Educated at Oxford, he has served five years in Britain’s House of Commons and has been a member of the House of Lords for over a quarter of a century. Archer is married to Dame Mary Archer, and they have two sons, two granddaughters and three grandsons. He lives in London and Cambridge.

For more information, visit JeffreyArcher.co.uk, like him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube.

Jeffrey Archer
Jeffrey Archer

OVER MY DEAD BODY
By Jeffrey Archer
384 pp. HarperCollins. $28.99

Purchase Over My Dead Body direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Powell’s, Target, or Walmart.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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