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Monday 29 July 2019

‘Rogue Killer’ by Leigh Russell

Published by No Exit Press,
23 May 201
9. ISBN: 978-1-84344938-6 (PB)

" ... he had no intention of being caught. Not now. Not ever."

When a body is found in one of York's narrow alleyways, Detective Chief Inspector Eileen Duncan believes that it is linked to a spate of recent muggings that has unnerved residents and baffled the police.  With this hypothesis in mind, the no-nonsense Duncan briefs her team to search for the killer, or killers, but Detective Sergeant Geraldine Steel has an uneasy feeling that the murder is more than simply "a street crime that went too far."  Initially, however, the DCI’s assessment is shared not only by the majority of her detectives but also by the local community.  Media coverage reporting the sense of outrage by people living in the area piles on the pressure for Duncan and her team.  Readers who are familiar with Steel's nose for murder will know that for all her personal flaws, the detective's hunches are usually correct, but Geraldine is still a newcomer in York’s detective branch, and she is forced to restrain her instincts and follow instructions. 

Then, a second victim is discovered…and a third.  With no apparent motive for the crimes, the case remains focused on catching the team of robbers who are still at large.  Geraldine, though, sees a much darker hand at work in the killings.  With her usual tenacity, DS Steel decides to pursue her own line of enquiries alongside the official investigation, a course of action that puts her life in jeopardy!

In this novel Leigh Russell has created perhaps her most ruthless and unpredictable killer yet, and the reader is given a chilling insight into his callous and calculating mind. Contemporary themes are tackled, and sensitive issues broached.  The author plunges the reader straight into a frightening and sordid underworld of violence and evil, creating tense narrative at the heart of which lies an increasingly mystifying crime.  The novel is fast-paced and interspersed with Geraldine’s complicated personal life.  Indeed, it is Steel’s maverick spirit that makes her such a compelling protagonist as she battles her own inner demons of self-doubt and uncertainty.  The fact that she only truly feels at home whilst investigating a murder would give most psychologists a field day, and Geraldine Steel fans, this one included, love her for it!

Rogue Killer is the twelfth book in the Geraldine Steel series and the detective has come a long way, both professionally and personally, from her first appearance in Cut Short.  All novels in the series can be read as stand-alone stories, and each provides the reader with a carefully crafted and thrilling read. 

Reviewer: Dorothy Marshall-Gent

Leigh Russell studied at the University of Kent gaining a Masters degree in English and American literature. Formerly a secondary school English teacher, with the success of her Geraldine Steel series, Leigh now writes full-time. Her debut novel, Cut Short, was published in 2009 by No Exit Press in the UK, featuring detective Geraldine Steel. There are now 12 books in the series. Leigh also writes a spinoff series for Geraldine's sergeant, Ian Peterson. Of which there are three in the series. Her latest series published by Thomas and Mercer feature Lucy Hall. Leigh Russell is married with two daughters and lives in Middlesex.

Dot Marshall-Gent worked in the emergency services for twenty years first as a police officer, then as a paramedic and finally as a fire control officer before graduating from King’s College, London as a teacher of English in her mid-forties.  She completed a M.A. in Special and Inclusive Education at the Institute of Education, London and now teaches part-time and writes mainly about educational issues.  Dot sings jazz and country music and plays guitar, banjo and piano as well as being addicted to reading mystery and crime fiction.  

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