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Wednesday 3 June 2020

‘Gallowstree Lane’ by Kate London

Published by Corvus,
23 January 2020.
ISBN: 978-1-78649-34-0-8 (PB)

The novel opens with the all-too-familiar scenario of a teenager gang-member, Spencer, being fatally stabbed on the street.  He is with his best friend Ryan, who flees the scene on his bike and goes to Shakiel, their gang leader (and already under observation as part of a major covert police investigation, Operation Perseus) to ask him to avenge Spencer’s death.

The murder investigation brings three police officers into close contact.  DI Sarah Collins tries to find the missing witness, but it is her colleague DC Lizzie Griffiths who discovers that Ryan had been arrested for an assault in a shopping centre and this reveals that he is mentioned in the Operation Perseus files.  Lizzie is seconded to work on the Operation and here she encounters DI Kieran Shaw, her ex-lover and father of her child – he is leading the operation, the results of which could make his career.  Sarah’s investigation threatens the secrecy of the operation and the tensions between the colleagues tighten as the officers struggle to solve their intertwined cases.

This is the third book in the Collins and Griffiths series, but does work as a stand-alone.  The author’s background includes some years as an officer in the Metropolitan Police and the London setting feels authentic and the police procedure realistic.  The plot, perhaps best described as gritty, does not stretch credulity– we see snapshots of gang warfare and retaliation in the news on a much-too-regular basis – and the conclusion of a sad story well told brings no real satisfaction. 
Reviewer: Jo Hesslewood
Other books by this author: Post Mortem, Death Message

Kate London graduated from Cambridge University and moved to Paris where she trained in theatre. In 2006 Kate joined the Metropolitan Police Service. Like all police officers she started in uniform, working for two years on a response team, and then moved into the CID. She qualified as a detective constable then went on attachment with the police nationale in France and finished her career working as part of a Major Investigation Team on SC&01 - the Metropolitan Police Service's Homicide Command. She resigned from the MPS in August 2014. Post Mortem was her first novel

Jo Hesslewood.  Crime fiction has been my favourite reading material since as a teenager I first spotted Agatha Christie on the library bookshelves.  For twenty-five years the commute to and from London provided plenty of reading time.  I am fortunate to live in Cambridge, where my local crime fiction book club, Crimecrackers, meets at Heffers Bookshop .  I enjoy attending crime fiction events and currently organise events for the Margery Allingham Society.

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