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Monday, 28 October 2019

‘Two Victims’ by Helen H. Durrant

Published by Joffe Books,
28 July 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-78931-160-0 (PB)

DCI Rachel King has two full time jobs.  The first is caring for her two daughters, Mia aged fourteen and Megan aged eighteen. Mia is still a reasonably compliant teenager although neither she, nor her mother’s divorced husband, Alan, who lives just next door and helps to look after the girls, have any idea that Mia’s biological father is actually Jed McAteer, a possibly/possibly not, reformed villain.  Megan is more of a handful.  In her first year at University, Megan is fighting for her rights and the freedom to do what she wants when she wants.  This includes heavy drinking at parties that are organized and attended by some highly undesirable characters.

Rachel’s second job is catching villains.  When we meet her Rachel has just been called to a murder scene.  A local nurse, ostensibly a kind-hearted do-gooder, Agnes Moore, has been shot in the head and dumped in a ditch on a building site. A second body is found further along the ditch. This time the victim is a girl in her early twenties, also with a hole in her head. Jed McAteer, Rachel’s former lover, owns the site.

Helped by her loyal sergeant, Elwyn Pryce and two constables, Rachel begins to investigate the deaths, but she has a battle on her hands.  Jed McAteer puts pressure on Rachel’s boss to get the job done quickly and get off his land. Then DCI Mark Kenton, a detective from Salford CID, keeps trying to take over the investigation. Although Kenton has the backing of the top brass, Rachel does her best to carry on, particularly when it seems that young foreign girls are being groomed and forced to work as sex slaves.

Rachel’s family life and work life become intertwined as Jed McAteer, whom Sergeant Pryce believes Rachel still loves, moves back into her life. Not everything is as straightforward as it seems - this is especially true of Agnes Moore’s efforts to help girls who find themselves in trouble. We also end up with a slightly unusual and unexpected murderer.

Two Victims is a fairly short book. It rattles along at a good pace and is an easy read with some very engaging characters. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have no hesitation in recommending to anyone who enjoys a good murder mystery.
Reviewer Angela Crowther

Helen H. Durrant writes gritty police procedurals and is published by Joffe Books. Until six years ago she hadn’t written a word, now she has sixteen titles out there and counting. Her novels are set in the Pennine villages outside Manchester. Writing was a dormant ambition. It was retirement that gave her the opportunity to have a go. The success of her books came as a huge surprise, now she can’t stop! 

Angela Crowther is a retired scientist.  She has published many scientific papers but, as yet, no crime fiction.  In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing group, goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the operas of Verdi and Wagner.

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