Title: Over My Dead Body
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Series: William Warwick Series
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Genre: Crime, Mystery Thriller
First Publication: 2021
Major Characters: William Warwick, Sir Julian Warwick QC, Grace, Beth Rainsford, Miles Faulkner, Christina, Jerry Summers
Narration: Third Person
Book Summary: Over My Dead Body by Jeffrey Archer
In London, the Metropolitan Police set up a new Unsolved Murders Unit—a cold case squad—to catch the criminals nobody else can.
In Geneva, millionaire art collector Miles Faulkner—convicted of forgery and theft—was pronounced dead two months ago. So why is his unscrupulous lawyer still representing a dead client?
On a luxury liner en route to New York, the battle for power at the heart of a wealthy dynasty is about to turn to murder.
And at the heart of all three investigations are Detective Chief Inspector William Warwick, rising star of the department, and ex-undercover agent Ross Hogan, brought in from the cold.
But can they catch the killers before it’s too late?
Book Review: Over My Dead Body by Jeffrey Archer
To begin, let me say that I have a great deal of respect for Jeffrey Archer and his accomplishments as a writer. One of my favorite book series written by Jeffrey Archer is the seven-volume Clifton Chronicles. In that series, the character of William Warwick was introduced to the readers for the very first time. Warwick is rapidly rising through the ranks and making tremendous progress in his career with the London Metropolitan Police Force. In a very short amount of time, Warwick has firmly established himself as an important member of the MET. The fourth book in the series, Over My Dead Body, shows how great Warwick is at solving crimes.
The year is 1988, and Warwick has now been promoted to the position of Detective Chief Inspector. As the Metropolitan Police prepares to form a new ‘cold case’ unit, Warwick is eager to participate in one or more of the department’s upcoming investigations. The Cold Case Team is made up of DCI Warwick, DI Ross Hogan, and a few more investigators. Each of these detectives has been tasked with a variety of unsolved cases, and each of these cases involves an individual whom the police think to have gotten away with a crime.
In addition to his new responsibilities, Warwick is still working hard to recapture his archrival, a billionaire art collector and thief named Miles Faulkner, who has managed to escape justice so far. While everyone thinks he is dead, Faulkner is really hard at work behind the scenes, trying to construct an empire. Even after his recent funeral and plastic surgery, Warwick and his team will be able to easily identify him as being very much alive and on the run.
Over My Dead Body opens just after the events of the book Turn a Blind Eye as DCI Warwick and his wife embark on a much-needed relaxing cruise together, which is their first genuine vacation in a long period. Unfortunately, the journey doesn’t turn out quite like they had hoped. Warwick and his wife, Beth, are thrust into the middle of a tumultuous situation when the owner of the cruise liner dies suddenly on board, perhaps under suspicious circumstances. Warwick is compelled to return to work and investigate a murder that occurred on board. Having made acquaintances with a young guy who aspires to follow in his footsteps, Warwick demonstrates that a detective is always “on duty” by assisting in the discovery of truth that would not have been exposed otherwise on their journey. This part of the novel reads very much like an old-fashioned whodunit mystery, similar to the style of Agatha Christie’s popular Poirot series. This episode was particularly well-written, with a compelling mystery aspect; even the characters presented here were stronger than those introduced later in the novel.
Even though Warwick has spent a significant amount of time working for the Metropolitan Police in London, he still does not know what the day will bring when he reports at the workplace each day. After returning from vacation, he is assigned to the interesting Unsolved Murders Unit, or “Cold Case Squad,” in an effort to apprehend criminals who may have escaped justice. Warwick, with the assistance of a former undercover agent, starts working on the mountain of cases in an effort to win the favor of his superiors. Finding the mysterious Miles Faulkner, a billionaire with criminal intentions who was reported dead a few months ago, tops the list.
As Warwick races around Europe to solve the cold cases, he is always on the hunt for information about where Miles Faulkner has gone and what plans he may have for re-establishing his empire. Warwick must move quickly in order to earn his keep, but he must also be mindful of how he may permanently ensnare his biggest adversary. Like any good Jeffrey Archer tale, Over My Dead Body keeps the reader turning pages right up to the climax.
William Warwick is making steady progress in his career at the Met, despite the fact that many of the people around him believe he will fail soon. Although he has a wonderful sense of humor as well as investigative talents required to demonstrate his expertise, the reader is drawn to him mostly because of his grit and determination to solve the mystery. In the novel, Warwick’s personal and professional growth is noticeable. This lets fans of the series see how his character develops as the books go on, and it also impresses people who are new to Warwick and many of his quirks.
In addition to William Warwick, DI Ross Hogan is the other character who stands out as a bright star in the book Over My Dead Body. The way he carried himself and the events that happened around him gave the impression that the author had put some intentional effort into developing his character. He was a likable, multifaceted character with both redeeming qualities and weaknesses. Although DI Hogan and his changing position in the story stood out to me as unique from the rest of the squad, I found that many of the other characters were just melted into the background. There was an insufficient amount of development put into secondary characters, which prevented any of them from being memorable.
For a long time, I’ve been a big admirer of Jeffrey Archer’s work, and I don’t care about any of the personal controversies that other people may bring up in discussion. His stories not only have a great plot structure, but also include exciting adventures and flow naturally into one another. There’s complexity to them, and this series has maintained all of its intensity as it’s progressed. Archer has written four of the eight books that are planned to be included in William Warwick series; however, there is a significant amount of room for the development of the storyline. I am quite excited to be a part of it because I am aware that there are going to be a lot of twists along the way and I’m waiting for ‘Next In Line”.