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Monday 1 November 2021

‘The Scars Within’ by Mel Stein.

Published by Double A Publishing,
15 July 2021.
ISBN:  978-1-52728991-8

Andy Harris teaches a course in Criminology at Campden University   He was a CID Detective Inspector but left after he was the victim of an acid attack.  Though only in his second year of teaching, he has become adept at identifying the usual student groups, and has noticed an unlikely pairing of the attractive Lisa and the geeky Sam.  The whole class is interested in Andy’s role in capturing the serial killer Kevin Mackie.  Lisa has chosen Mackie for her extended essay and is keen for additional information, so Andy isn’t surprised when the topic comes up at the current lecture.

He is, however, surprised when he receives a phone call from his former Chief Superintendent, Ian Rawlings, wanting to talk about Mackie.  He discovers that, despite the details of the original crimes having been withheld, there has been a copycat murder.  Mackie is dead (the assumption at the time having been that he had committed suicide).  However, the recent murder raises the possibility that he might actually have been murdered to keep his innocence (and someone-else’s guilt) hidden.  If this is the case, what else might the police have got wrong. ?


Andy returns on a temporary secondment to help in looking at the old cases again.  Though he is not sure of his welcome from former colleagues, he develops a good working relationship with DC Ali Hassan.  Their work together leads to tragic events, but also a kind of resolution.

This is the first book featuring Andy Harris and is a good, well-paced, story with some neat plotting, deft twists and an interesting cast of characters.

Reviewer: Jo Heelewood
The author has written a number of books on a variety of subjects.  Of these, Marked Man and White Lines are crime fiction novels.

Mel Stein  qualified as a solicitor in 1969. In 1980 he began representing sports people including a host of well-known footballers, including Paul Gascoigne, Chris Waddle and Alan Shearer. He is a regular contributor to Talk Sport, Radio 4, Radio Five Live and other TV networks. He has written three football thrillers, Marked Man, White Lines and Red Card.

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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