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Wednesday, 12 August 2020

‘Blood Ties’ by Heather Burnside

Published Head of Zeus,
12 December 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-78954149-6 (PB)

Adele is serving time for the manslaughter of her father, and as if prison wasn’t tough enough, she’s fallen foul of the prison’s top dog, Shazza. Meanwhile, her gangster brother, Peter, is having difficulties with his ‘firm’, leading him to sack his best friend – a move which will have serious repercussions when Adele is released.

The first half of this novel focuses on the women’s prison and Adele’s difficulties there, with chapters showing what’s going on with Peter in Manchester; the second half moves on five years to Adele’s release and her gradual realisation of the extent of Peter’s criminal enterprises. Adele will be a popular heroine, attractive and feisty, and we sympathise with her wish to reconnect with her mother and support her brother. Peter is also likeable, the charming Glynn is  convincingly described, and the dialogue is plausibly tough. This is a novel about criminals and their world rather than a crime novel, with a more straightforward plot than crime afficionados might expect, but there’s plenty of action throughout.

An easy-read gangster novel with an appealing heroine. It doesn’t say so anywhere on the cover or inside, but it’s actually the middle book of a trilogy, with frequent references backwards and a cliff-hanger ending, so you might want to start with the first book, Born Bad.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor
Heather Burnside spent her teenage years on one of the toughest estates in Manchester and she draws heavily on this background as the setting for many of her novels. After taking a career break to raise two children Heather enrolled on a creative writing course. Heather now works full-time on her novels from her home in Manchester, which she shares with her two grown-up children. 

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

Click on the title to read a review of the sixth book in the series
 Death in Shetland Waters

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