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Monday 29 April 2019

‘Perfect Crime’ by Helen Fields

Published by Avon,
18 April 2019.
ISBN: 978-0-00-827520-4 (PB)

DCI Ava Turner is nothing if not a risk-taker. She spends an early chapter of this tense, action-packed police procedural clinging by her fingernails (almost literally!) to a castle wall above a forty-foot drop in a howling gale, and that's possibly the least dangerous thing she does in the course of the novel. I guarantee the high-octane climax will have you on the edge of your seat chewing your own fingernails.

But she survives to tell the tale, which is just as well, because she left me itching for more of this series, if only to see how the still unresolved sexual tension between her and DI Luc Callanach (he of the supermodel looks and sexy French accent) pans out.

At the centre of this, the fifth in Helen Fields's Perfect series, is a series of apparent suicides. Naturally (this is fiction, after all) they all turn out to be carefully staged murders, and the killer is hiding in plain sight, albeit cleverly and thoroughly disguised until the very end.

The cast includes several familiar faces from earlier in the series: Callanach, of course; DS Lively, as politically incorrect as they come; Superintendent Daisy Overbeck (mention her first name and she'll probably kill you!), whose nickname the Evil Overlord is well chosen. Ava Turner's Murder Investigation Team has some new names too, notably DI Pax Graham, whose rugby player stature hides a keen intellect, and DC Janet Monroe, who proves an asset from the start.

They say the plot keeps you reading but it's the characters who keep you coming back for more, and that's certainly the case here. The plot is well devised and nicely tangled, and there's a neat subplot which harks back to the grimmer elements of Luc Callanach's past. The Edinburgh background is vivid and well observed as well. But it's those characters, regulars, supporting cast and guest stars alike, who stand out; damaged, flawed or just plain bonkers, they're all the kind of people you care about, and can imagine having lives off the page. Even minor players like Mariam the illegal immigrant and Callanach's glamorous ex Selina have that scratch-me-and-I-bleed quality.

It's the kind of crime novel that sends you – me, anyway – in search of previous titles in the series. And I'll certainly be coming back for more.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Helen Fields, a former barrister, now writes a Scottish set crime series - D.I.Callanach and D.I. Ava Turner. Her debut novel Perfect Remains and the second in the series Perfect Prey are Amazon best sellers. Perfect Crime is her fifth book. She currently commutes between Hampshire, Scotland and California, and lives with her husband and three children.
Twitter @Helen_Fields

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.

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