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Sunday, 19 July 2015

‘Killer Plan’ by Leigh Russell

Published by No Exit Press,
May 2015.
ISBN: 978-1-84344-539-5

A chance meeting with an old classmate from her junior school days has terrible consequences for Caroline Robinson and her family: her husband is murdered and one of her twin sons is kidnapped. Caroline is plunged into a waking nightmare, unable to tell the police the truth about her husband's murder or that her child is missing, because she knows that to do so will implicate her in her husband's death.

Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel is certain that Caroline is lying about something, although she knows that Caroline and her twin sons have an alibi for the time of the murder. Geraldine is still struggling to establish herself in her new position in Serious Crime Command in London and feels lonely and isolated because her usual sergeant is absent on sick leave. As she works on solving the death of Dave Robinson a new murder is committed, one which involves Geraldine's personal life, and she has to make the decision of whether to tell the whole truth about what she knows, even though it will destroy her career.

Russell handles with great skill the intricate emotional strands of the two women who both have knowledge that may solve a crime but are afraid to reveal it. The sections in the viewpoint of Caroline as she struggles to conceal the abduction of her child are particularly powerful and the chapters told in the viewpoint of Ed, the kidnapped ten-year-old boy are very moving.

Killer Plan is the seventh book in the Geraldine Steel series but it also works perfectly as a stand-alone book, with previous events and characters deftly explained without taking attention from the current investigation. Geraldine Steel is skilfully portrayed as a tough, ambitious and dedicated professional, who cares about the people she deals with, and is determined to keep her vulnerabilities well concealed. Killer Plan is a fast-paced Police Procedural and a compelling read.
Review by Carol Westron

Leigh Russell studied at the University of Kent gaining a Masters degree in English and American literature. Formerly a secondary school English teacher, with the success of her Geraldine Steel series, Leigh now writes full-time. Her debut novel, Cut Short, was published in 2009 by No Exit Press in the UK, followed by Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act and Killer Plan, all featuring detective Geraldine Steel, and Murder Ring will be published in 2016. Leigh also writes a spinoff series for Geraldine's sergeant, Ian Peterson. Cold Sacrifice and Race to Death are already published, to be followed by Blood Axe in late 2015. Leigh recently signed a three book deal with Thomas and Mercer for a new series featuring Lucy Hall. The first two titles in this series will be published in 2016. Leigh Russell is married with two daughters and lives in Middlesex.

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Her second book About the Children was published in May 2014.

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