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Friday, 3 March 2017

‘Second Strand’ by Carolyn McCrae

Published by Matador,
28 January 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-785898389

Alex Brownlow has shared his life with Teri Barnes for over ten years but the relationship has run its course and they have begun to discuss the possibility of an amicable separation.  These domestic preoccupations change, however, when their elderly next door neighbour, Walter Brittain, is murdered.  Detective Sergeant Ann Hill is assigned to the case and questions the couple, but then Alex disappears and, inevitably, becomes a prime suspect.

Two years earlier DS Hill had been criticised when an apparently open and shut case she was leading failed to result in a conviction.  During the trial the defendant’s lawyer exposed embarrassing flaws in the investigation and Hill is determined not to repeat her mistakes.  She embarks on the Brittain enquiry with determination and vigour, hoping that a successful outcome will reignite her career.  Meanwhile, Teri engages a husband and wife investigation team, Fergal and Skye Shepherd, to find Alex.

As the various strands of the investigation converge, secrets and lies that have been hidden for over thirty years are gradually exposed.  They reveal a deadly game of betrayal and revenge that is still being played out and moving inexorably towards one final killing… 

Second Strand skillfully weaves the complexity of Teri and Alex’s unravelling relationship into the tangled mosaic of the murder enquiry.  The writing is compelling and crisp, and one is never quite sure who can be trusted because the characters are unpredicable and often unreliable.  The author has successfully combined plot, style and enigmatic personalities to create a tense thriller that keeps the reader guessing until the end. 
Reviewer: Dorothy Marshall-Gent

Carolyn McCrae was born in West Kirby on the Wirral when it was in Cheshire not on Merseyside. Having moved at least 13 times in the past 20 years she is now living in Dartmouth (Devon, England not Massachusetts, USA) with her husband Colin. Writing (whilst following the fortunes - or otherwise - of Liverpool Football Club and the English Cricket team) is now her career of preference after 33 years working in the marketing data management business she founded in 1983. An Archers-Addict of 55 years, she is currently taking a sabbatical from Ambridge while the Helen/Rob storyline plays out. In 2007 she won The David St John Thomas Prize for Self-published Fiction for her novel, The Last Dance, the first title in The Iniquities Trilogy so she can truthfully describe herself as a 'Prize-winning author'.


Dorothy Marshall-Gent worked in the emergency services for twenty years first as a police officer, then as a paramedic and finally as a fire control officer before graduating from King’s College, London as a teacher of English in her mid-forties.  She completed a M.A. in Special and Inclusive Education at the Institute of Education, London and now teaches part-time and writes mainly about educational issues.  Dot sings jazz and country music and plays guitar, banjo and piano as well as being addicted to reading mystery and crime fiction.  

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