This is the fifth of the “young Tennison” series that comprise the prequels to the Jane Tennison we met in Prime Suspect and takes Jane into another new direction. This time, she’s the first woman in the Flying Squad, AKA The Sweeney. The “Dirty Dozen” of the title are the macho, misogynistic men of the squad who don’t initially take kindly to the arrival of a woman in their midst. On her first day with her new unit, she’s involved in a robbery gone wrong which forms the basis for the rest of the story. In the course of solving that case, Jane proves (and re-proves) her abilities as a detective, and gradually wins the admiration and acceptance of her colleagues.
I lived in London in the time frame and wish I could say that the gender prejudice shown here was an exaggeration, but I had similar experiences, and wish it had been as easy for me to overcome. I think that women today probably can’t imagine the truth of that, but it rings very true. I also remember the Iranian embassy siege mentioned near the end of the novel, which added authenticity to the story. All in all, I think she does a good job of capturing the time period.
I love police procedurals, especially when the characters are not self-destructive and self-centered as seems to be common in contemporary fiction. This is a good example. Lots of details, showing how a crime can be solved, but I think this went on just a bit too long and was, at times, a bit too detailed (I didn’t need to hear repeatedly that someone wrote something in their pocket book). And, while it IS part of a series, it can easily be read as a stand-alone.
Overall, a good addition to the genre and this series. I look forward to the next one.
My thanks to Bookish First, the publishers and the author for an advance copy to read and review. All opinions here are my own.