I was really pleased to receive an advance copy of Jane Isaac's new novel from the publisher. I had read her previous two novels, both of which feature the detective Helen Lavery but this new book follows a different detective and takes place in Stratford upon Avon.
Min, a Chinese student is kidnapped and her part of the tale is narrated in the first person. I think that this made her terror much more real when she is describing the situation that she is in. She often thinks about her life with her parents back in China and her boyfriend who she had argued with recently.
I really liked Will Jackman, this new detective. As with the previous novels his personal life features. The situation which his wife is in and how both Will and his daughter have to cope with it. This doesn't take over the main storyline though, with Will desperately trying to find Min, trying to get help from her family back in China and from the close knit Chinese community in Birmingham.
I hope that Will and his team feature in further novels. I liked the characters and the camaraderie between them.
**Publisher review copy**
Really excellent crime thriller again from Jane Isaac, this time bringing us a new main protagonist (Will Jackman whom I adored) and with a heart and soul for the story provided by a victim of kidnap - Min Li, whose musings whilst trapped in a dark pit, not knowing if rescue is coming, gives a beautifully crafted edge to the whole thing that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
There are a lot of strengths to this story - Will's background and motivations are intriguing and without cliche - a really well drawn character who grounds the story and gives it focus. Then there is Min Li who you will root for all the way as she reflects on her life, her home and her future, realising it is entirely possible she won't have one. It is emotive and addictive and absolutely gripping.
The story flows magnificently, the investigation interspersed with Min Li and her situation, it twists and turns its way to an excellent and heart stopping finale, where it really is not clear until revealed what the final outcome will be - truly heart stopping at times.
Crime fiction being such a hugely popular genre it is easy for the good ones to get a little lost in the rush - so much choice to be had - but I would highly recommend you give this author a go if you have not already - for me she represents the very best in emerging UK crime fiction and is definitely one to watch.
Happy Reading Folks!
For those who love a detective series, the books featuring DCI Helen Lavery are highly recommended. The opening chapter is quite scary, Eva witnesses an attack on a friend and has to flee in fear of her own life. With no idea if her friend is safe and not knowing who her to trust she is very isolated.
Helen is very likeable, strong character. Single parent to two teenage boys and forced to work with an ex partner who she once trusted she is determined to find Eva and solve the case.
It's good to read about Helen's home life as well as her professional one. Guilt over not being able to be there more, dependency on a parent in helping raise her family and still missing her husband.
I'm glad that I have read these books in order, nothing is revealed about the previous case but I always feel it's better when reading about family life.
I have very much enjoyed both books so far in this series and I hope that there is another one soon.
Detective Chief Inspector Helen Lavery learnt a valuable lesson from her late father, James, a well-respected detective in his own right, when he said: Don't get upset or afraid with the death threats of an acrimonious criminal on trial. It is only the ‘shallow thoughts of a condemned man.’ But was he right?
She became as successful as he in her profession, while raising her two sons, Matthew and Robert, on her own, after her husband's death ten years earlier. Life was busy, but uncomplicated for her. She was well-known as an assiduous detective in the Hampton Branch of the Homicide and Serious Crime Squad. Her colleagues were trustworthy and hardworking: Superintendent Jenkins, Sergeant Sean Pemberton. However, the same could not be said of Detective Inspector Dean Fitzpatrick. He knew how to play her like a violin and she could not resist falling in love with his melodies. That was a few years ago, and she never forgave him. And now he was back to solve a case in which they would collide as well as corroborate and things are not going well at all.
So much changed insidiously for all of them. The past, instead of the present, was now more relevant than ever before. It predicted the future and everyone is caught off guard, so to speak.
Eva Carradine and Naomi Spence were best friends since early childhood. There was no reason for either one of them to ever distrust the other. They had a bond stronger than family. But then Eva witnessed an assault on her best friend and sharing a dangerous secret with her friend, she took off, trying to get as far away as possible. Some people were in hot pursuit, with the police not quite on par with her involvement yet.
For those of you who enjoy the different British detective series on television and love murder mysteries, like I do, will appreciate this fast-moving, entertaining, light-read. However, it is serious enough to be noted, but not hitting the horror- or nightmare zones in any way.
The story revolves around two murders, with every person related to it having to deal with unresolved issues from their past before the case could be solved. Even the criminals had their stories to tell. Relationships would be tested, between family, friends and work colleagues. The situation demanded of everyone to personally reconsider their motives, action as well as decisions to end the tragedy. I am not giving away any clues!
Like all books, the beginning is slow, introducing all the characters, the scenario, and the plot. But then it picks up pace and before you know it, you're zoning in on Hampton, England and growl for any interference, such as a ringing telephone, or even the cat jumping through the window! I felt like hanging a 'for heaven's sake, do not disturb!'-sign on my closed door, even though I had a strong suspicion of the outcome!
Legend Press has never disappointed in their choice of new authors. I received this book through NetGalley for review. And enjoyed it. It is a well-written murder mystery for female readers. Definitely not chic-lit.