For anyone who thinks that the good old police procedural has had its day, think again. Isabelle Grey has come up with a cracking new novel which is the first in a new series featuring Detective Sergeant Grace Fisher.
Grace Fisher left her last posting in Maidstone after being driven out for grassing up a fellow officer, losing her job, home and husband in the process. Taking a demotion she joins the Major Investigation Team in Essex and starts on the day a student is reported as missing following the end of year exams. Anxious that her past hasn’t followed her Grace is keen to make her mark, but reluctant to tread on anyone’s toes in the process during the investigation into Polly Sinclair’s disappearance she meets up with an old friend who is a journalist on the local paper.
When a body of another student is found and the media turn on the police details only known to a favoured few are soon splashed across the local paper. Grace is under suspicion for leaking the news and Grace is soon fighting to avoid disciplinary action.
This is an intricately plotted story which has a number of threads that held my attention from beginning to the end. As in any good detective novel the red herrings are carefully placed and far from obvious, the motive believable and above all populated by a great range of characters. Grace is an appealing protagonist and one who despite her unfortunate start in Essex is more normal than many who populate this genre. Her partner Lance is equally affable although understandably cautious about Grace and the range of secondary characters from victims to suspects and everyone in between all realistically portrayed. As in real life there are the public faces and the private faces, none more so than the hack from the national paper The Courier, Ivo Sweatman who is easily the best secondary character to grace the genre for years.
I love the way the media activity is seamlessly integrated into the storyline with Ivo chasing his headlines in a ruthless manner which mirrors contemporary news stories rather too well. Ivo is clear that while the Senior Investigating Officer may want the truth he is chasing the story and sad though it may be, the longer the police take to find a suspect to charge the story will keep rolling, and as we know it doesn’t take long for the media to turn on the police. Isabelle Grey hasn’t ignored social media either keeping this story right up to date.
Isabelle Grey’s training in screenwriting shines through, this is well-written and engaging which despite the number of different lines of enquiry being followed as well as some sub-plots both past and present, is easy to follow where a lesser writer could have tripped themselves up on the knots.
This is a series I will be following without a doubt, particularly as the first book of the series can be far too much background and not enough present, this author has provided just the right combination of both. I’d like to say a big thank you to the publishers Quercus for allowing me to have a copy of the book ahead of publication on 9 October 2014 in return for this honest review.
Previous Books by Isabelle Grey:
Out of Sight
In a village in south-west France, a young Englishwoman, Leonie, meets a quiet, withdrawn man called Patrice. He has no wife, no child, and refuses ever to get inside a car.
Leonie is certain she can help this man, that her love will heal his emotional wounds. But Patrice will not tell her anything about his past. So she decides to search herself – unaware of what she’ll discover.
Five years before, Patrice was living in London. He was called Patrick, and he had a wife and child. And one fateful day in July changed his life for ever.
Recently divorced, Tessa Parker runs a successful B&B in a seaside town. During a surprise visit from Australia, a long-lost aunt lets slip a family secret that unsettles her fragile world.
In shock, and feeling betrayed by her whole family, Tessa confides in her ex- husband just as he reveals he has a new woman in his life.
Struck unexpectedly by jealousy; balancing her own turmoil against the demands of parenting, Tessa tries to trace her birth father, with devastating results. Yet she fails to see how this is a crucial moment in her children’s lives. If she gets things wrong, the consequences could be fatal.