Book Review: Nighthawking (Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler #2) by Russ Thomas

“He can’t bear to think of her that way, all cold and dead and wasting away in her grave beneath the rose bushes. He’d always pictured her whole, whenever he thought about her. All peaceful and sleeping. The way she’d looked when he buried her.”

The second book in the Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler series, Nighthawking by Russ Thomas sees Tyler investigate the murder of a foreign student whose body is found in the city’s Botanical Garden by a nighthawker on the hunt for antiquities. Alongside Detective Constable Amina Rabbani, and struggling against shrinking budgets and manpower in their department, both are shunted onto the investigation. But when the victim is identified as a Chinese national from a wealthy family, the case takes on a new urgency to prevent an international incident. As Tyler and Rabbani dig further into the victim’s life, it becomes clear that there’s more to her studies and relationships than meets the eye. Meanwhile, someone else is watching these events. Someone who knew the victim, and might hold the key to what happened the night she vanished.


Thank you to Simon & Schuster for a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Dark and compulsive, Nighthawking is a brilliantly written detective thriller layered with gritty action and a murky atmosphere. The follow up to the 2020 Firewatching, this is the second book in Thomas’ Sheffield-based crime series that follows Detective Adam Tyler.

I’m on the brink of rating this book higher but the only thing I struggled with was the amount of characters and the juggling of different cases and departments. This is more my own fault having not read the first book in the series first, as I’m sure I would have engaged with the characters much more if I had read the series in its proper order. But although I thought that every character had a distinctive voice (and they were a culturally diverse cast, as well, which is always worth some praise), I struggled to connect with the characters individually.

That being said, I will definitely be heading back to the first book to rectify that, as I want to get to know more about Rabbani, figure out Tyler a little better, and see if Doggett has always been a bit of an arse. I was certainly getting an inkling towards my feelings towards them all, but I just couldn’t get my head around them enough to love this book even more.

However, once I got used to the characters, I really found myself hooked. As the intricate stories come together, Thomas’ clever plotting begins to weave a clearer path as the inquiry becomes more and more fascinating. And with that cliffhanger, I will definitely be back for more!


Nighthawking by Russ Thomas
Release Date: 29th April 2021
Print Length: 448 pages
Genre: Detective Thriller
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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