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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by Head of Zeus, 9 August 2018. ISBN: 978-1-78854330-9(HB)
As every crime fiction
reader knows, there's a wealth of highly competent writers out there, all
producing well plotted books with sharply drawn characters and backgrounds that
come to life.
But every now and then we
stumble across an unfamiliar author whose work seems to come from a different
place. I'd hardly read a chapter or two of In the Blood before I realized that Ruth Mancini was
writing from the heart.
Her protagonist, Sarah
Kellerman, is a criminal defence lawyer. Not only that, she is also the single
mum of Ben, a severely disabled five-year-old. Sarah knows all about the
juggling act that most working mothers perform every day: the broken nights,
the rushed supermarket trips, the problems of finding the right childcare and
alleviating the doubts of work colleagues. So when she is asked to prepare a defence for another
single mother who stands accused of trying to kill her own child, she is more
than willing to pull out a few stops.
Ellie, the accused mother,
isn't an easy person to help. She lives in a run-down flat in an area awash
with drugs and violence, denies vehemently that she is responsible for any of
the signs that baby Finn has been abused, but refuses to back up her assertions
with anything resembling evidence. She claims that the baby's father is
supportive, but also claims legal aid to pay her costs. Above all, there is no
doubt that she was present when Finn's dialysis line was pulled out, leaving
him to bleed almost to death.
Sarah is faced with the
almost insuperable task of refuting a mountain of evidence which seems to point
to Ellie's guilt, and makes one discovery after another which render the task
even harder. At the same time she is battling colleagues who think she is not
pulling her weight when she insists on leaving work on time and opting out of
night-time duty solicitor call-outs in order to care for Ben. When she meets a
man who seems to understand, and who actually proves helpful with her son, it
feels like a gift from above – until work and personal life collide.
Mancini paints an all too
lifelike picture of two women driven almost to the edge by circumstances beyond
their control, each facing a nightmare situation. Some of the background
details – the meltdown in the supermarket, the frantic dash to A & E, the
defensive interview with the boss – will ring horribly true to any working mum.
The supporting characters too have that essential spark of life, as do the
multiple locations in and out of London.
This was one of those books
I found hard to put down. My head told me Ellie was innocent; that's the way
the genre works, after all. But my heart was unsure, though desperately hoping
it would end well, for both Ellie and Sarah. The reveal, when it came, was a
corker. Read it and see for yourself.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Ruth Manciniwas born in South-West London and, after graduating,
started her career as a marketing executive for a publisher before undertaking
a post-graduate diploma in law and retraining as a solicitor. Ruth has spent
the past twenty years in and out of courts and police stations, representing
those accused of crimes. She still practises as a lawyer for a large criminal
law firm with offices in London, conducting advocacy in the courts and
defending people arrested at the police station. She also reviews the trial
files across the firm and juggles her legal work with writing crime and
psychological fiction. Her debut crime thriller In The Blood is a Sunday Times Crime Club pick and a top ten Amazon
bestseller. She now lives in Oxford with her husband and two children. Her
eldest child is severely autistic and learning disabled and her In The Blood protagonist, lawyer Sarah
Kellerman, is also raising a similarly disabled child whilst working full-time.
Ruth is also the author of domestic suspense novels The Lies You Tell and His
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