Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Good Girls Don’t Die – Isabelle Grey

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction

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.

The Bad Mother

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.


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

29 thoughts on “Good Girls Don’t Die – Isabelle Grey

  1. Very glad this one was such a success for you, Cleo. I do like a good, well-written police procedural. And you’re right about the various strands of a novel. Sometimes they do get tangled up, if I may put it that way. But this time it sounds as though they weren’t hard to follow. Good to hear 🙂


    1. One of things I enjoyed the most was the description of how the media operates and how that tied in with the investigation – for instance the eagerness to get various stories into print before a suspect is charged and they’re not allowed to report on them explains some of the crime stories we read about on a daily basis!


    1. I was really impressed (if you couldn’t tell) although to be honest if I’d known it was a start of a series I might not have been so keen because these tend to be full of background and the story skimped, and although Grace has a back story she manages to keep the angst just about under control. Maybe add it when the TBR gets under 100 again 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Cleo, this book sounds so up my alley, I am requesting a review copy right now!! If you love a good procedural with a different tone and a very complex woman, your review reminded me of the Jenny Cooper series by M.R. Hall. Cooper is a coroner, so the narrative deals with different procedures, but she is an inspiring character (or someone to be friends with!). THANK YOU for this review and for making me discover the book 😀


    1. I got my copy via @quercusmargot (Margot Weale) who kindly sent me a copy. The Jenny Cooper series was set very near where I was bought up and M.R. Hall really seemed to capture the mindset of the area although I found Jenny’s constant anxiety a tiny bit wearing, but you’re right someone you could be friends with! If you liked that then I’m sure you’ll enjoy Grace who has issues but gets on with life.


      1. Oh I only read The Coroner, so I thought that – maybe – there was an arc with her anxiety. But you’re right, I am currently reading Kay Scarpetta #4 and either she’s too burnt out or she should go to therapy. But I’m glad the description of the place is good, and I had no idea you were English, by the way. Nice to know 🙂

        I just sent an email to Quercus publicity, but if they don’t answer, I will try to contact Margot. Thanks for the info!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The plot sounds good. I typically struggle with books that depict journalists or try to include news reports because the authors just can’t get that right at all. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was one of the worst.


  4. I will have to read this Maidstone in Kent is a few miles from where I live. I often go to Maidstone shopping for clothes and christmas presents


    1. Haha – I’ve just read your double dare post so you’d better get a copy soon 😉 This one is very good! I know what you mean about the distraction of all the blogs, I now try to set aside time for blogging/reading blogs and then time for reading but it doesn’t really work….


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