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Tuesday 4 October 2022

‘Dead Real’ by Helen H. Durrant

Published by Joffe Books,
15 July 2022.
ISBN:  978-1-80405402-4 (PB)

The twelfth novel in Durrant’s Calladine and Bayliss police procedural series begins straight into action with the murder of a sixteen-year-old petty thief, Noah Crosby. Two weeks later, his decomposing body, is found in a back street on the notorious Hobfield housing estate whose residents are not prepared to speak to the police.

The case proves to be far from an easy one for the detective team. Noah was found with his expensive watch and top-of-the-range mobile still on him indicating that robbery was not the motive. The letter X was carved into his skin - the hallmark of a serial killer who operated 20 years ago and was never caught. More puzzling still was that the design of his expensive trainers had not yet been launched onto the general market.

The gruesome murder of a local market trader a short time later leads to the discovery of a racket involving the robbery of high-end goods including designer handbags and watches. Are the two deaths linked? 

Matters become more complicated by the day. A bullet is fired through the window of Tom Calladine’s girlfriend Kitty’s Private Investigation business, but she refuses to talk about it even to Tom. Another murder occurs and the stolen goods appear to be linked to a major operation in another part of the country.

Tom’s love life is no less complicated than the case he is trying to investigate. His obsession with work causes a rift with Kitty, and it doesn’t help that an old flame is back in town.

For lovers of fast-paced novels with complicated plots with plenty of twists and turns, Dead Real certainly grips the interest. I found it compulsive reading and read for long into the night to reach the satisfying ending.

Reviewer: Judith Cranswick  

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 twenty six 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!

Judith Cranswick was born and brought up in Norwich. Apart from writing, Judith’s great passions are travel and history. Both have influenced her two series of mystery novels. Tour Manager, Fiona Mason takes coach parties throughout Europe, and historian Aunt Jessica is the guest lecturer accompanying tour groups visiting more exotic destinations aided by her nephew Harry. Her published novels also include several award-winning standalone psychological thrillers. She wrote her first novel (now languishing in the back of a drawer somewhere) when her two children were toddlers, but there was little time for writing when she returned to her teaching career. Now retired, she is able to indulge her love of writing and has begun a life of crime! ‘Writers are told to write what they know about, but I can assure you, I've never committed a murder. I'm an ex-convent school headmistress for goodness sake!’ Her most recent book is Peril in Persia.

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