So who and what is it all about, then?
It’s basically a police procedural, featuring DCI Robin Lyons. She’s not long returned to Birmingham (her return featured in the previous book, Critical Incidents, which I have but have yet to read – it’ll be zooming up the TBR pile after this, though!)
What’s the case she’s investigating?
Actually, it’s two cases, both murders of young women, and first of all it looks as though they could be related – the women looked as though they’d been left with no identifying documents, meaning they would struggle to find out who they were. However, the crime scenes are very different, and Robin and her team (featuring her boss – and teenage sweetheart – Samir) soon come to the conclusion they could be on the hunt for not one but two murderers.
What else is going on in the book?
Well, Robin is a single mum to a 15-year-old daughter, Lennie, and part of the reason she’d moved back to Birmingham was to spend more time with her parents, and give Lennie a chance to get to know them, and vice versa. They’re also available to help with chilcare – although Lennie is kind of beyond that stage, time is a constant issue in Robin’s life (goodness knows how she managed in London, with no family help, when Lennie was younger!) There’s also her brother, Luke, with whom she has always had a somewhat fractious relationship, and an old schoolfriend, Kev, who looks promising boyfriend material for Robin. Lennie has also made good friends since moving cities – one of whom, Asha, has a brother, Austin, who Lennie really likes. So there are lots of characters, as well as the police investigation that’s ongoing, featuring a variety of officers who are under Robin’s command, and who are also well-developed characters. That’s one of the most impressive aspects of this novel.
So why would you recommend this book to me?
First of all, it’s a cracking example of a police procedural, with an engaging and likeable lead character in DCI Lyons, as well as intriguing – and plausible – cases. Also, the family dynamic, both between her and Lennie, and the two of them and Robin’s family, fleshes out the story nicely, and makes for a realistic, rounded life for her – no microwave dinners and wine hangovers for this cop, thankfully! That had become a wee bit of a cliché. Ditto the relationship with Kev – it gives her character a three-dimensional feel. There’s also the feeling that there could be unfinished business with Samir – but with him married with two kids, that could end up getting very messy, were that romance to rekindle…
Lucie Whitehouse has always been an excellent writer – I read her early books, which had more of a domestic noir, or secrets-amongst-old-friends feel, but her move into the police procedural market shows what a mature, versatile and confident writer she has become. I’m very, very hopeful this will not be the last we’ll see of DCI Robin Lyons!
WIth thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Blog Tours for inviting me to participate in this blog tour, and Harper Collins for the review copy.
BLURB: The gripping new crime thriller from the bestselling author of Before We Met and Critical Incidents
Robin Lyons is back in her hometown of Birmingham and now a DCI with Force Homicide, working directly under Samir, the man who broke her heart almost twenty years ago.
When a woman is found stabbed to death in a derelict factory and no one comes forward to identify the body, Robin and her team must not only hunt for the murderer, but also solve the mystery of who their victim might be.
As Robin and Samir come under pressure from their superiors, from the media and from far-right nationalists with a dangerous agenda, tensions in Robin’s own family threaten to reach breaking point. And when a cold case from decades ago begins to smoulder and another woman is found dead in similar circumstances, rumours of a serial killer begin to spread.
In order to get to the truth Robin will need to discover where loyalty ends and duty begins. But before she can trust, she is going to have to forgive – and that means grappling with some painful home truths.