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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Joffe Book, March 2019. ISBN: 978-1-78931-086-3 (PB)
Coercive control and physical domestic abuse have been much in the news
recently, so it was only a matter of time before this all too common travesty
became the focus of crime fiction. But good crime fiction doesn't just make use
of high-profile issues; it turns them on their heads and finds a new approach.
That is exactly what serving
police officer Charlie Gallagher has done in this clever police procedural.
Detective Sergeant Maddie Ives is part of a CID team investigating day-to-day
crimes, and also does a spot of borderline moonlighting, supporting women with
abusive partners. One of these women is Grace Hughes, who is keeping a diary of
her partner Craig's worst excesses and planning her escape.
When a major bombing incident
means it's all hands to the investigative pump, Maddie is distracted; and when
a young man whose activities she has been looking into is found dead, she finds
she has even less time for her extra-curricular work. And then there's DI Harry
Blaker; he and Maddie have history, and he has now returned to work following a
serious injury, demanding that she help him out with a possible blackmail case.
Meanwhile, Grace has plans of
Charlie Gallagher's hands-on
experience of a detective's workload is very much in evidence almost from the
start of this tightly woven novel. The police officers have personal lives, but
no time to pursue them; it's easy to see how obvious clues can slip through the
net when there simply isn't time to follow every lead – especially when
witnesses aren't telling them the whole story.
The characters too are well
observed. Harry Blaker is gruff and abrasive, but perceptive and determined to
get his man. Grace Hughes is downtrodden and unconfident but reveals a core of
steel. A host of supporting players also come across clearly: bombastic Frank
Dolton; cocky Toby Routledge, inevitably heading for a sticky end; Rhiannon the
promising young detective constable, and Vince the uniformed officer with
Maddie herself is dedicated
and hard-working, tough and compassionate. She has all the makings of a series
protagonist – especially when a move to Major Crime is hinted at towards the
I especially enjoyed the way
the various disparate threads of the plot all came together to create a picture
that was there all along if only both reader and police had seen the
connections. Now, that's good crime fiction.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Charlie Gallagher has been a serving UK police officer for ten years.
During that time he has had many roles, starting as a front-line response
officer, then a member of a specialist tactical team and is currently a
detective investigating serious offences. Charlie is the author of four
Lanthorne police procedurals. His new series features DS Maddie Ives.
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.