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Prime Suspect, A Face in the Crowd, Silent Victims, by Lynda La Plante (audiobooks read by Rachel Atkins)

1991: DCI Jane Tennison has to survive in a male dominated profession and carefully negotiate her personal and professional relationships…
I have never watched Prime Suspect on TV which is shocking as I love Lynda La Plante’s books. I am definitely going to catch up with all 7 series now! So, my introduction to the force of nature that is Jane Tennison was the three books (audio versions) that kickstarted the series (books based on her earlier life have now been published).
Prime Suspect: Jane investigates the death of a prostitute but her team are acting against her. Can she prove herself and catch the killer?
Face in the Crowd: the body of a woman is discovered in a poor black community but can she be identified?
Silent Victims: a death in a fire and a transvestite subculture leads to an investigation into a paedophile ring
Jane is an utterly brilliant character and I loved the mix of personal and professional elements that feature across the three books. She experiences sexism directly from her colleagues and the attitudes towards female officers from the general public.
The storytelling is superb in all 3 books but they do feature racism and homophobism, alongside the misogyny mentioned above, which impacts the murder investigations. Reading the books now, the content seems a little dated but I felt that the depiction of the 1990s was authentic.
I enjoyed both the style of writing and the narration with the narrator using different accents and voice inflections to depict the different characters and bring them to life. These three books are brilliant police procedural with important social comentary that doesn’t shy away from big topics including misogyny, institutional racism, abortion and AIDS.

Book blurbs


Prime Suspect: In the dark night of the soul . . . . If Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison hadn’t been a woman, she might not have noticed the victim’s shoes . . . . and that they didn’t match the size given on the info sheet now so obviously misidentifying the dead blonde as a hooker named Della Mornay. Being so through, so good at the details, made Jane a top investigator; being a woman made the boys in the squadron want to see her fall on her face. But Jane Tennison was determined to catch the madman stalking women in London’s street shadows. She had a prime suspect, and she needed to make the charges against him stick. She also needed to keep her own secret in check: she couldn’t let anyone see that she was falling apart inside, as her obsession with cracking this case and breaking out from under the heel of the station house boy’s club took over life, destroying her relationship with the man she loved, pushing her closer and closer to the dark urges of a killer . . . .

Face in the Crowd: The victim was young. Female. And black. Her  skull had been smashed in, her face decomposed beyond all recognition. But for Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, the corpse that had just been  found in one of London’s poorest communities was only the beginning of a case that would tear apart  an already divided city . . . and embroil the gritty cop and her force in a hotbed of racial strife, shocking accusations, and sudden, wrenching violence.
Silent Victims:The drag queen named Vera Reynolds swayed on-stage singing “Falling in Love Again.”  And a sixteen-year-old boy lay in Vera’s fire-engulfed apartment . . . very, very dead.  He was a “rent boy,” a sex-for-hire street kid who catered to the tastes of special customers.  It was the kind of murder Soho’s Vice Squad saw often.  But the influential do-gooder who was a prime suspect in this one made the young boy’s death different–a ticking bomb able to blast open the nasty, secret lives of politicians, judges . . . and cops.  Detective Jane Tennison had moved up the career ladder through sheer guts and an unstoppable passion for justice.  Now, on her first day as the head of the Vice Squad, she caught a case threatening to wreck her career.  She had been told whom to arrest–and whom to back off from-in the murder of the “rent boy.”  And she couldn’t go with the program.  She knew a destroyer of children was out there.  She knew she had a choice:  to save her future or go after him like an avenging angel, and damn the consequences to hell . . . .

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