In this fourth installment of his Detective William Warwick series, Jeffrey Archer once again shows his readers why he’s known for his detailed, compelling, and layered story lines. I had read the first book in this series years ago but remember very little of the characters and plot. Now I wish I had read books two and three because of larger story arcs and returning characters. While Over My Dead Body could be read as a standalone, if you want to understand the whole picture in terms of plot and characters, I suggest starting at the beginning with Nothing Ventured.
The story kicks off with a murder on a NYC-bound ocean liner. I was quite enthralled with this plot which introduces readers to 17-year-old James Buchanan (who I can’t help but think will make appearances in future books). One case isn’t enough for Warwick so readers are then whisked back to London when Warwick learns that his nemesis – millionaire art thief and collector Miles Faulkner who was presumed dead – may still be alive. A cat-and-mouse story ensues, and other cases are added to the docket stemming from Warwick’s cold case squad at The Met.
There is a lengthy list of well-drawn characters – both friend and foe – and with the multiple cases things get a bit convoluted at times, but through it all Warwick shines as the main character. I loved his banter with his Mrs. which added levity, but it was ex-undercover agent Ross Hogan who stole the show for me with his mad skills and penchant for not following the rules. Gotta love a good bad boy, right?
Over My Dead Body was certainly an interesting story to read. While the telling is a bit choppy as we jump from case to case, I think readers will enjoy this layered novel and its many different locales.