When a man dies in a gas explosion in his home in the early hours of the morning it is easy to suspect the wife of the crime, after all she did leave the home and had the opportunity to turn on the gas before she left. It doesn't feel right to DI Geraldine Steel, and when it soon becomes clear that there is another person who has died under suspicious circumstances in their home the team starts to suspect that there is more to the story than they first thought - especially when the intruder seemingly strikes again. This is a flaming hot case, and with each new discovery and each new obstruction, Geraldine and the team are more determined to solve the case so they can bring peace to the families of the victims - before there are more families to comfort.
It is another hot case for DI Steel and the team, and she is grateful to have DS Peterson on the case again, even if it does seem that he is not the same cheerful and outgoing partner he was on the first case. That said though, neither is Geraldine, who is left reeling when she discovers a family secret that could tear her life apart. Balancing personal and work life is always a challenge when you are on the police force, especially when you are dedicated to your job - something that not everyone understands. As the case gets more involved Geraldine finds herself pulled between her professional and personal lives - a place she knows all too well after the breakdown of her first relationship.
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.
I really enjoyed reading Cut short, which I had loaded onto my phone so I could show customers at work when they asked about ebooks, but I was a little surprised at just how much I liked the series. As soon as I had finished Cut short I requested a copy of Road closed so that I could keep going with the series - this time in tree book format. I was not disappointed as Russell has once again delivered a solid thriller that gives you glimpses of both sides of the story, but still keeps you guessing about what the whole story is and what might be coming next.
I have been watching Law and Order: Criminal Intent on DVD the past few weeks and in a lot of ways both Cut short and Road closed remind me of those police procedurals, where you are given bread crumbs to help you piece together what is happening - but you have to pay attention to figure it out before the end. This is a good, solid series that deserves to be discovered, and while that may seem like I am damning the series with faint praise, if you saw the number of books I discard after a few pages each month you would realise it is not faint praise at all. A great police procedural that avoids cliché and predictability, and keeps you guessing - which is a rare find indeed.
- Cut short by Leigh Russell
- The girl in the ice by Robert Bryndza
- Pop goes the weasel by M.J. Arlidge
- One step too far by Tina Seskis
- The basement by Stephen Leather
- Level 26: Dark origins by Anthony E. Zuiker and Duane Swierczynski
- Now you see her by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
- Vodka doesn't freeze by Leah Giarratano
- The slaughter man by Tony Parsons
- Kill switch by Neal Baer & Jonathan Greene
- The edge of normal by Carla Norton
- City of fear by Alafair Burke
Reviewed by Brilla