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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Black Dot, 14 May 2015. ISBN: 978-0-9576522-4-8 (PB)
Sometimes it’s good to have one’s preconceptions challenged. I make no
secret of my views about self-published books in general, but every now and
again, along comes a book which explodes those prejudices and puts a new slant
on things. And that’s just as it should be.
Stranger Child, Rachel Abbott’s fourth title, is such a book.
The tension level is high
from the outset: young woman drives along a deserted lane late at night and
encounters a car blocking the road – then gets a call on her mobile telling her
not to stop. In the ensuing crash she dies and her small daughter vanishes
without trace, setting the scene for a tangled web of threads six years later.
The main storyline delves
deep into blackmail, kidnapping and the sleaziest of organized crime, via the
astonishing return of the dead woman driver’s daughter, whose disappearance in
the earlier incident had completely stumped an extensive police investigation.
Abbott proves herself adept at presenting the reader with layers of
information, divulging just enough at a time to maintain those tension levels.
The narrative threads include a detective chief inspector and his sparky female
sidekick (Abbott’s characters are all sharply drawn, and the bad guys are
especially nasty; but she is at her best with strong women), who don’t just
unravel the tangle but connect up some apparently loose ends to other mysteries
to create a much richer and more convoluted picture than the first scenario.
Perhaps the strongest and
most complex character is the now-teenage daughter, whose life since the
accident which killed her mother has been a far cry from the ordinary
middle-class existence she would otherwise have enjoyed. It has toughened her,
and made her mistrustful and resourceful, and one of the book’s great pleasures
for me was watching her carapace begin to crack and her frozen emotions start
to thaw as the possibility of love and security enter her mind.
There’s plenty of atmosphere
too: rising stress levels in the house the girl returns to; a dark and
strangely silent wood; a grim and rather spooky underground office complex; a
converted barn in the middle of nowhere for the final take-down. And there’s a
cute baby; a desire for his safety and well-being had me on the edge of my seat
Stranger Child is well conceived, well-written and gripping – more
so than many a conventionally published novel. It just goes to show, some
preconceptions are meant to be challenged.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Rachel Abbottwas born just outside
Manchester, England. She became a systems analyst at the age of 21
in the early 1970s, and formed her own software company in the mid 1980s
designing computer programmes for education. The company expanded
into all forms of interactive media and became extremely successful. The sale
of the company in 2000 enabled her to take early retirement and fulfil one of
her lifelong ambitions - to buy and restore a property in Italy.Once there she completely restored a ruined
monastery and started a second successful business renting it out for weddings
In 2010 she embarked on her
third career and wrote her first book Only the Innocent.
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.