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Saturday, 3 August 2019

'At Your Door’ by J P Carter

Published by Avon, 
22 August 2019.
ISBN: 978-0-00831-330-2 (PB)

Happy or not, a policewoman's lot is certainly a busy one. 

DCI Anna Tate has just wrapped up the kind of high-profile case that has placed her squarely in the front line of media coverage, and is looking look forward to some breathing space, maybe even a night out with her dishy partner, social worker Tom. But it's a vain hope for a DCI in charge of a major investigation team in the heart of London. Before she has time to change for that night out, there's another body – and this time the press will be even hotter on her heels.

The body belongs to Holly Blake, a rising star in the modelling world who just happens to be the daughter of a former commissioner in the Met and a strong candidate to become the next mayor of London. And as if that wasn't enough, the young woman's boyfriend – and chief suspect in the case – turns out to be a prominent MP with distinctly newsworthy tastes in the bedroom. There are stirrings at the highest political level, which Anna is afraid might hamper her investigation.

In other news, there are significant developments in Anna's ten-year search for her missing daughter Chloe, abducted as a toddler by her ex-husband. A newspaper has run a story which included a computer-generated image of Chloe as she might appear now, and it has raised some interest, not least with Sophie Cameron, whose twelve-year-old adopted daughter Alice bears an extraordinary resemblance to the image.

J P Carter's background in journalism becomes very evident as both stories unfold. Anna's investigation into Holly's death and the backstory behind Sophie and Alice (or possibly Chloe) are charted in meticulous detail, right down to the filling in the policewoman's lunchtime sandwich and the colour of the fresh blouse she changes into after pulling an all-nighter! Sometimes this comes at the expense of character development, but the twists and turns of both plot strands are ample compensation. At times I didn't know whether to be speechless with admiration for Anna's stamina, or desperately sorry for Sophie; in the end I settled for both.

This is a novel in which the lines between good and bad guys are made very clear indeed, right up to the unexpected denouement. Anna Tate is a worthy protagonist; but it's the complex and gripping plot and equally engrossing subplot that is the true star of the show.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

J P Carter is a pseudonym for James Raven who has been a journalist for most of his working life. After reporting for local, regional and national newspapers he moved into television as a news scriptwriter. He then worked his way up to become Director of a UK News Division. He now runs his own TV production company. James spends much of his time writing and travelling. He is also an accomplished magician.

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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