As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Sphere, 29 January 2015. ISBN: 978-0-7515-4960-7(Trade
Abduction, prostitution and drug dealing all play a large part in the
second in Elizabeth Haynes’s series featuring DCI Louisa Smith and her major
continues to make use of her own background as a police intelligence analyst by
employing a device which isn’t often seen in crime fiction. A selection of the
documents which pile up in the course of an investigation, such as witness
statements, interview transcripts, suspect profiles and intelligence reports,
are scattered through the narrative to offer an insight into the minutiae of
police work and enable the reader to piece together the clues.
time, though, the action focuses less closely on the incident room and the
day-by-day progress of the investigation, and homes in on the key characters:
Louisa herself, as she navigates the choppy waters of police politics and tries
to nurse her precarious relationship with intelligence analyst Jason Mercer; DS
Sam Hollands, who is inclined to become too emotionally involved; and most of
all Scarlett Rainsford, who disappeared ten years earlier during a family
holiday in Greece, and has just resurfaced in her home town as a potential
witness in a case involving murder and human trafficking.
in particular is complex and well-rounded. Her backstory interleaves the
present-day narrative, and the reader learns what really happened in Greece
long before the police do. In addition, there is clearly a lot going on in the
head of Juliette, Scarlett’s younger sister; is she really mentally disturbed
as her father claims, or is there more to it than meets the eye?
Haynes shows herself to be adept at building an intricate story layer by layer.
There are strands which link this novel to the previous one, providing Louisa
with a nemesis to pursue into future volumes in the series; and the author has
clearly done her homework with regard to the ramifications of large-scale
succession of sordid places Scarlett is consigned to made me queasy, and the
realization that such things go on under our noses left me feeling distinctly
uncomfortable. But despite that, I never wanted to stop reading; both Scarlett’s
story and the developing relationships within the major incident team are
gripping stuff. Above all, though, I wanted to see the bad guys brought down
for the suffering they caused.
that was never going to be easy. As a character observes, dismantling one
corner of an organized crime network is pointless; another side of the same
organization simply takes over. The upside is that there’s still plenty for
Louisa Smith and her team to do as the series progresses – and the second
volume more than lives up to the promise of the first.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Elizabeth Haynes is a police intelligence analyst. She started writing
fiction in 2006 thanks to the annual challenge of National Novel Writing Month
(Nanowrimo) and the encouragement of the creative writing courses at West Dean
College. She lives in a village near Maidstone, Kent, with her husband and son.
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.