There is nothing more enthralling for me than reading about a writer researching a story, especially when the story being planned is about a murder!
Luke a journalist who blotted his copybook, is convinced his big break can happen if he can emulate the great true-crime book In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. When he decides to leave Leeds for Brighton it is with the taste of failure in his mouth following the disappointment of a lost opportunity he finds the perfect subject to research; gangster turned philanthropist, Joss Stone whose partner in crime, Jacky Nye was murdered in 1968. Jacky Nye was strangled and thrown into the sea only to be discovered washed up at West Pier some days later, all evidence as to what had happened erased. Luke is convinced he has found the perfect story and sets about his research, throwing caution to the wind when he is repeatedly advised to find a different subject. It soon becomes clear that perhaps Luke should have heeded these warnings.
This is a fast-paced book with numerous twists and turns as Luke tries to find those who know the answers to the long ago mystery, including the young woman in the red dress who was seen fleeing the scene. In this book, you don’t only get a fantastic plot but also vivid descriptions and a theme of redemption running throughout. This changes The Ties That Bind from a straight mystery to something more complex, a book that made me think about the atonement of sins, both large and small.
Erin Kelly is one of my favourite writers with her last book The Burning Air being one of my favourite reads of 2014. The change in subject in this book just serves to underline that this is an author who writes distinctly different books but always manages that special array of characters that walk off the pages and into your imagination, so clearly that you miss them when the book is finished. In The Ties That Bind there is an abundance of different characters, Joss Stone is a puzzle, why did he turn his back on the gangster lifestyle? Why is Jem, Luke’s previous partner so controlling, and why, despite despising his behaviour, did I feel a vested interested in his well-being? And what was the relationship with the recently deceased Kathleen Duffy, whose house Luke is renting, and Joss Stone? You’ll have to read the book to find out?
I am extremely grateful that the publishers Hodder & Stoughton provided me with a copy of this book to review. This book was published on 8 May 2014.