Black Dog, Paperback
4 out of 5 (5 ratings)


Dark, intense and utterly compelling, 'Black Dog' was an extraordinary first novel from a writer who has rapidly become the most promising crime author to emerge in the genre in years. 'Where Cooper stood was remote and isolated...but the smell that lingered under the trees was of blood' The long hot Peak District summer came to an end when they found Laura Vernon's body.

But for local policeman Ben Cooper the work has just begun.

His community is hiding a young girl's killer and a past as dark as the Derbyshire night.

It seems Laura was the keeper of secrets beyond her years and, in a case where no-one is innocent, everyone is a suspect.

But Cooper's local knowledge and instincts are about to face an even greater challenge.

The ambitious DC Diane Fry has been called in from another division, a woman as ruthless as she is attractive...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 528 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780006514329



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Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by

Black Dog was not full of suspense - it was very dull in places - but there was just something about the book that made me not want to put it down. This was Stephen Booth's debut novel. It’s the first installment of the Ben Cooper and Diane Fry series. I have purchased the rest of the series over the last few days, I enjoyed this book that much. Stephen Booth has a unique way of writing. He describes the places in the book so vividly, almost in a errie kinda way. The characters were a different sort of lot. I found the three elderly men to be quit entertaining. The next book in the series is Dancing With The Virgins, which I can’t wait to read.

Review by
Cooper looked again at the summit of Win Low and the Witches There was a n ancient pack horse road crossing the tore, beneath the shadow of the twisted rocks. But it would be a brave traveller who went that way at night. It was all too easy to imagine the black hounds of the legends growling up there on the dark ridge, waiting to pounce.And once the black dogs of hell were on your back, you could nee shake them off.This is the first in a series of police procedurals set in the Peak District. I've read a couple of them before, but I was glad to get hold of the copy of the first book and discover the origins of the strained professional relationship between police officers Ben Cooper and Diane Fry. The mystery at the heart of the story involves strong bonds of family and friendship, and local boy Cooper and incomer Fry take very different approaches to the investigation. investigation.I loved the cover, too. It's an atmospheric picture of lichen-covered crags under a lowering sky, which fits the story's Peak DIstrict location perfectly.
Review by

An excellent mystery novel by Stephen Booth introducing the characters Cooper and Fry. Both are intriguing characters and Booth's excellent writing also makes sure that you are hooked.

Review by

I don't know how this series managed to stay off my radar for so long. I really enjoyed Black Dog. The eccentric older characters seem so true to life, and the cops, Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, are psychologically complex, with problems and feelings of their own. And strangely enough, though they make mistakes and have personal failings and don't like each other much, they seem to make a good team. I am really looking forward to reading the whole series.

Review by

I really wanted to like this book. It is the first of a series featuring police officers Ben Cooper and Diane Fry set in the Peak District. In this one, the case they work on is the murder of a 15 year old girl, Laura Vernon. Ben and Diane are both detective constables in this book and are therefore given relatively menial tasks, so many of the scenes where suspects and witnesses are interviewed feature DCI Tailby, who appears to have no personality whatsoever.Diane has some mystery in her past which resulted in her being transferred to this police force, but we are not told exactly what happened and she has intermittent panic attacks, which are described in great detail. Ben's father (also a policeman) was killed in the line of duty and he seems oddly resentful of this. His mother is a schizophrenic and prone to violent outbursts and he agonizes over what to do about her (personally I think she clearly needs to be removed from the farm, where she is physically attacking her daughter-in-law and traumatizing her grandchildren). There is a lot of description of the Peak District, which I liked at the beginning, but eventually started to skip. It amazes me how unhelpful fictional characters in small rural villages are to the police - is that realistic? Also, could a pathologist really be able to tell at a post-mortem that a girl had been very sexually active (as opposed to no longer being a virgin?) There were no likeable characters in this book: Ben was moody and immature, Diane was just nasty, the Vernons were unlikeable on a whole other level and don't get me started on Harry. He went from not even speaking to his own wife to narrating most of chapter 29. The solution to the mystery came out of nowhere and was unsatisfactory to me. The whole book was slow and gloomy and I won't be reading the others in this series.

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