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Tuesday 3 February 2015
‘Killing for Keeps’ by Mari Hannah
Mari Hannah’s DCI Kate Daniels has just been optioned for TV, which is excellent news for anyone who enjoys action-packed police drama with a feisty female cop in the leading role. Killing for Keeps, the fifth in the series, has great telly potential; it moves outside the confines of Kate’s Northumbrian ‘manor’, and features a couple of charismatic villains as well as the usual suspects in the Murder Investigation Team.
Hannah doesn’t flinch from the gruesome stuff either; the investigation is triggered by the discovery of two tortured murder victims, who prove to be brothers, and the sons of a notorious gang leader, responsible in his day for a large proportion of the organized crime on Kate Daniels’s patch.
The maverick cop is a staple of crime fiction, and Kate Daniels is as maverick as they come – and not just because she’s a lesbian. She is never afraid to go it alone and work outside the system, though she goes to some lengths to protect her team from the consequences of her own rule-breaking.
The case moves ahead in fits and starts, and keeps stalling as one lead after another takes the detectives nowhere. Meanwhile, Kate herself is in a bad way. Already exhausted after another trying investigation, she is still not quite coming to terms with the breakdown of her relationship with psychological profiler Jo Soulsby, and both her former boss and mentor DCS Bright and her work partner Hank Gormley begin to worry for her health, both physical and mental – especially when she begins to feel responsible for the fate of an informant she hasn’t even admitted exists.
Maintaining the pace and keeping the pages turning in these circumstances is no mean feat, but Mari Hannah is well up to the task. She knows her locations inside-out, and ensures the reader does too. Her knowledge of MIT procedure is second to none, but the detailed research is worn lightly; the reader is made party to everything that goes on in the murder room via the well-drawn diverse personalities of the detectives.
Killing for Keeps is a first-class addition to the series.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Mari Hannah was born in London. She now lives in a small Northumberland village with her partner, a former murder detective. Mari became a writer after her career as a Probation Officer was cut short following an assault on duty. She began using a computer because it was too painful to write with a pen. Ironically, the idea that she might one day become a writer then began to form in her head. She tried different forms of writing before settling on prose, and spent several years scriptwriting. She then turned her attention to the BBC, pitching a television serial based on characters in her then unfinished debut crime novel The Murder Wall. After completing the TV script, she went back to the book she had started years before but somehow never thought she’d finish.
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.