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Friday, 19 June 2015

‘Double Tap’ by Hania Allen

Published by Freight Books,
13 April 2015.
ISBN: 978-1-910449-00-4 (PBO)

Edinburgh PI Von Valenti’s search for a missing homeless boy turns violent when it seems he’s linked to the paintballing club where two members have just been shot dead ...

This book alternates between two protagonists, Von Valenti, former Met detective turned PI, and DI Steve English of Police Scotland, who worked under her at the Met. Both are sympathetic characters. As a PI Valenti is efficient, resourceful and empathetic with the many people she meets, vividly drawn minor characters like Mhari, down but not out, and the older Ranald McCrea, lost in dementia. However her private life is chaotic: fighting her resentful daughter, Georgie, coping with Georgie’s baby Kylie, and embarking on a relationship with someone who’s in the frame for the murders. While Valenti’s getting information by dubious methods, English takes us into the official investigation, with detailed forensic and computer work. The plot is fast-moving, and ends with a satisfyingly suspense-filled climax and double twist. I really loved the atmospheric use of the Edinburgh settings: the Dean Cemetery, with its stone angels, the paintballing club, the amber stone New Town streets and the haunted Greyfriars Kirkyard.

A very readable PI/PP in a beautifully evoked Edinburgh setting.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Hania Allen was born in Liverpool of Polish refugees. She very nearly became Britain's first astronaut after taking full part in Project Juno, a competition ultimately won by Helen Sharman. Her career in education culminated in information management at the University of St Andrews, a post she left to write full-time. Hania has lived in Scotland longer than anywhere else and loves the country and its people. She currently resides in a fishing village in Fife.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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