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Monday 27 August 2018

‘The Shame of Innocence’ by Nikki Copleston

Published by Silverwood Books,
11 November 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-78132-567-4

Detective Inspector Jeff Lincoln had been planning to spend his day off attempting to tame the garden of his recently run-down old house, but instead he is called in to deal with a murder case. The body of fifteen-year-old Emma Sherman was discovered on a Wiltshire golf course, wrapped in a tarpaulin. Emma had been missing for a few days but, after making initial enquiries, the police had assumed that she had run away following a quarrel with her neurotic and over-protective mother.

As the police probe further into Emma’s life it becomes clear that she was a very pretty girl with a good singing voice and she had been determined to become a star. Her father had died before Emma was born and her mother’s mental health problems had resulted in Emma deceiving her about her whereabouts and friends, which makes it hard for the police to discover the truth about her social life. Further investigation reveals that Emma had many more secrets than her mother had ever imagined and opens up appalling links with child pornography and child prostitution.

Throughout his investigation, Lincoln feels hampered by his senior officers, who seem determined to settle for the easy suspects, whether or not they committed the crime. Lincoln soon comes to the bitter realisation that the wealthy and politically powerful are sacrosanct. Then another teenage girl is brutally murdered, and a third girl goes missing. Lincoln knows that he has to discover the truth without delay, despite his bosses, if he is to save her life.

The Shame of Innocence is the author’s debut novel and the first in the series featuring D.I. Jeff Lincoln. It is a book that swiftly engages the reader’s interest and the descriptions of the C.I.D. team feel totally authentic. It is a very complex book, both in the twists and turns of the clever plot and in the large number of characters. The brutal crimes are chilling and are described honestly but not gratuitously, and the central protagonist, Jeff Lincoln, is determined to give all victims, whether rich or poor, equal status in their right to receive respect and justice.

Many of the characters surrounding Lincoln are likeable and Lincoln himself is an engaging protagonist. He is a fallible man, with social and emotional weaknesses, but he is also a man of incorruptible integrity who will do what is right, even at risk to himself. Ultimately, the theme running through this book seemed to me to be about corruption in all its shades. There is the corruption where evil is deliberately condoned in exchange for money or promotion, and the systemic corruption where whistle-blowers are crushed by the power of unscrupulous bureaucracy, and even those who know that the system is dishonest are complicit in their silence. In this context, Lincoln is a modern-day Don Quixote, tilting at the windmills of corrupt power.

The Shame of Innocence is a fascinating and very powerful read. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading others in the series. Recommended.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Nikki Copleston was born in Somerset and raised in the West Midlands and Wiltshire, Nikki Copleston worked in local government in London for many years. Her grandfather and great-grandfather were policemen, which may explain why she's always enjoyed watching detective series on television and reading crime novels. She is an active member of Frome Writers' Collective, which supports and promotes writers in the Frome area. When she isn't writing, she enjoys exploring the West Country with her camera. She is already working on the next DI Jeff Lincoln novel. She and her husband now live in Wells, Somerset, with their cat.

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a 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 the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To read the interview click on the link below.

To read a review of Carol latest book Strangers and Angels click on the title.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Carol - what a lovely review! I feel very privileged!