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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Avon, 8 March 2018. ISBN:
Clowns are supposed to be funny, but they can be just plain scary –
especially when you're seven years old and all alone on the edge of a fairground.
Even more so when it turns out that the little boy with the clown has gone
missing, and you're the only witness.
Thirty years after that
chilling incident, Jo Masters is a detective sergeant, and when the skeleton of
a small boy in unearthed on a building site the memories start flooding in. And
then another little boy is abducted by a man in a clown mask...
This is where I have to issue
a warning: don't start reading this book in the evening if you have an early
start next morning; I guarantee you'll be unable to put it down and will
continue reading, as I did, into the small hours. Despite one indication after
another that it wouldn't happen, I desperately wanted the second little boy to
be found safe and couldn't rest until I knew. And then the tension was ramped
up even further...
Hold My Hand is M J Ford's first novel for adults, but his years
of experience writing for children certainly shows. Not only is the plot
constructed with a sure hand, with plenty of breath-holding moments; every
narrative strand is peopled by characters who live and breathe, from troubled
Jo Masters herself who is centre-stage throughout to the DCI who blows hot and
cold and only makes occasional appearances. There's plenty of backstory for the
leading players, providing opportunities for development in future volumes in
the series that is sure to follow. Even the children feel like real children:
cocky teenagers with vulnerable centres, a seven-year-old who is a fizzing ball
of energy, an insecure eleven-year-old who just wants to be noticed.
The locations, too, come
springing to life: a smelly cellar, a dingy pub, the leafy streets and elegant
buildings of an old city all add texture and depth where it's needed. The
police procedures have a ring of reality, though I detected the occasional
liberty the author has taken to serve the story. And the outcome was suitably
shocking, but the evidence all stacked up: when the villain was finally
unmasked, I didn't know whether to be open-mouthed with astonishment or kick
myself for not realizing.
This is an impressive adult
debut from M J Ford. Jo Masters is a worthy addition to a growing array of
feisty female cops, and I look forward to another late night when her next case
comes to light.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Fordlives in the north of England with his wife, two young
children and two dogs. He studied English and Classics at Oxford University
before working in publishing for many years. He writes for both adults and
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.