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Monday, 16 July 2018

‘Songs by Dead Girls’ by Lesley Kelly

Published by Sandstone Press,
19 April 2018.
ISBN 978-1-912240-08-1

Health Care professionals have a major role in this book set in a near but different future.  A deadly virus has broke out and to avoid even more deaths a system has been established to check everyone’s health every month.  The Health Enforcement team search for anyone who does not arrive to be checked.  The seriousness of the virus means that the team can only be made up of those who have survived the virus and are immune to it.  Those who do not attend their checks have their green cards withdrawn.  These cards give access to everything and life is impossible without them.

The HET office in Edinburgh sends two operatives to look for a female defaulter and this develops into a serious matter.  The professor who is important in the field of virus treatment disappears and two of the HET workers are sent to look for him in London, leaving the incompetent Maitland to manage the office.  The parallel adventures of the two sent to London, Mona and Paterson, and those back in Edinburgh, Maitland, Bernard and Carole, get more and more convoluted and dangerous.  Drug dealers, career criminals, hostile politicians all feature.

This is a thriller set in a dystopian world with comic elements.  All reaches a satisfying climax, with a few hooks for the next in the series.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
This is the second in the Health of Strangers series and the third one is due in 2019.

Lesley Kelly has worked in the public and voluntary sectors for the past twenty years, dabbling in poetry and stand-up comedy along the way. She has won a number of writing competitions, including the Scotsman’s Short Story award in 2008.   Her first novel, A Fine House in Trinity, was long-listed for the McIlvanney Prize.She lives in Edinburgh with her husband and her two sons.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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