Thursday, September 7, 2017

Cut short (ebook) by Leigh Russell

Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel has just moved into a new apartment in Woolsmarsh and is looking forward to a fresh start - she was not expecting a killer to be lurking in the shadows of what seems to be an idyllic place.  The first murder victim was discovered by accident, her strangled body found buried under leaves in a park popular with families in the community.  It seems like an average murder inquiry, until the second body is found and public pressure mounts for the police to find the killer quickly before he can strike again.

The case is not going to be easy to solve though as there seems to be no connection between the two victims, and some of the potential suspects seem to be unusually averse to dealing with the police which makes it more challenging to sift through the clues.  Determined to prove herself Steel throws herself into the case with her trademark single minded focus, but that focus on the case leaves her on the outs with some of her new colleagues, and to a certain extent from her new boss.  As the case gains more attention and everyone waits for the next victim, Steel finds herself facing threats at home because someone knows she's with the police and is determined to leave their mark on her life.  Can Steel and her team solve the mystery before another victim is found, or will the killer get away with murder?

I find British police thrillers to be rather hit and miss - some are exceptional reads, while others are complete misses where I give up after a few pages.  Cut short fell somewhere in the middle of the field, but was definitely towards the better end of the spectrum.  I liked DI Geraldine Steel from the start, mostly because she seems like a real person right from the beginning, coming to terms with the loss of her long term relationship and uncertainty around her new team.  The rest of the police in her unit also feel very real too, people you can recognise without drifting too far into the cliche - a nice change from some of the other crime novels around at the moment.

One of the best things about the way Cut short was written is that the story unfolds from two different sides - the side of Steel, her police colleagues and the community - and the side of the killer who we initially see in short glimpses, but over the course of the story we come to see him more and understand what his motivation is and what is happening.  This switching point of view technique is overused by some, but Russell uses it to great effect and I stopped noticing after the first few times, as the story flowed seamlessly.  A great read and I have already gotten my hands on book two in the series to see what happens next for DI Steel and her team.

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Reviewed by Brilla

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