This is the second book in the Grace Fisher series, and before I start this review, in this instance I really do think you need to start at the beginning, so if you haven’t done so read Good Girls Don’t Die.
This book opens with a superb set-up where we meet Russell Fewell driving his van through Dunholt a small Essex town on Christmas Day. In the back of the van are presents for his children on top of a rifle. Meanwhile DI Grace Fisher is enjoying a game of scrabble with her colleague Lance, and his partner Peter having eaten lunch in her new Essex home; and then she gets the call that there has been a shooting, five people are dead as is the shooter. Even more significant as far as wrapping the case up quickly is the news that one of the victims is a serving Police Officer.
Grace and Lance start the investigation, there is no query over the suspect but Grace wants to know where the gun came from and what precipitated the tragedy, one that the town won’t forget in a hurry. As she starts probing it seems that corruption among her fellow officers may have had a part to play and never one to shy away from the difficult stuff, as we found out previously, she isn’t prepared to brush their actions under the proverbial carpet, even if it is possible career suicide.
We also have some narration from a teenage girl who lost her best friend in the murderous spree, someone who sees the crime and its effects from a different perspective. Robyn Ingold lives apart from her classmates in relative isolation with her parents who carry out the more traditional country pursuits. The family of three are a close-knit group and her parents do their best to support her as she mourns her friend Angie.
Into the mix we meet up again with Ivo Sweatman, a crime journalist who is well aware of the problems Grace experienced with the Kent Police Force, before her move to Essex. These old links means that he is someone she turns to when she’s unable for various reasons to ask the questions that she needs the answers to. I was slightly wary of this somewhat symbiotic relationship in the previous book, far less so in this one where for Grace, following the legitimate path of investigation is only going to raise suspicions and hostility unless she knows all the facts.
This is a somewhat controversial book and one that I found disquieting at times, maybe because I struggled to truly accept Grace’s belief that the cause for the shooting was somehow outside the gunman’s control. Nevertheless you can’t fault the plotting, the scene setting or the level of tension that the author manages to create in this complex novel. There are plenty of dilemmas both personal and professional to keep the readers brain alert and questioning. Isabelle Grey’s work writing television dramas was abundantly apparent and I can easily see this one being transformed to the small screen. With a range of characters, most of whom are hiding different magnitudes of secrets it isn’t hard to see why the tension among them all runs so high, something that pleasingly translated into my reading experience.
TI highly recommend this series and can’t wait to see what impact the outcome of Shot Through The Heart has on the next episode.
I’d like to say a big thank you to Quercus for allowing me to read a copy of this book prior to publication on the 24 March 2016. This honest review is my thanks to them.