Today I am sharing two mini-reviews of short stories. Of course just because a book is short doesn’t mean it has anything in common with another, but linking both of these are examples of how crime fiction can be used very effectively to make readers think about contemporary issues.
Promises to Keep – Elizabeth Haynes
This short story is part of the author’s DCI Louisa Smith series sitting between her first book Under a Silent Moon and the second, Behind Closed Doors. As with many authors who decide to write a short story there is an issue at the heart, in this instance, child migrants.
Jo is on sick leave from her job as a custody sergeant troubled by the death of Mohammed, a young child migrant whilst in her care. Her partner DS Sam Holland is concerned and worried about her and the relationship is floundering. Jo runs daily through woods where child migrants meet and through her eyes the author presents us with a story that challenges and informs on our perceptions of this issue.
The writing is superb and although this story is very short, coming in at about 40 pages, the author manages to look at both the main issue and the pressures on their relationship which provides for an engaging read that makes you think.
Promises to Keep was my twenty-ninth read for my Mount TBR challenge having been purchased in February 2014.
First Published UK: 24 February 2014
No. of Pages: 41
Genre: Crime Fiction
Left For Dead – Jane Casey
I have read the entire series of Maeve Kerrigan and this book sits before them all, featuring Maeve Kerrigan as a very young detective not long out of training school. Jane Casey has also decided to put an issue at the heart of her short story, this time the issue is domestic abuse starting with the shocking statement.
Two women died every week in the UK at the hands of a partner or ex-partner. On average, women endured thirty-five incidents of domestic abuse before contacting the police.
And then I showed up the thirty-sixth time and stumbled through my arguments for why the victim should trust us. As if we could save them.
This is a fast-paced story which takes us through a typical night with Maeve partnered by an older an experienced police officer. Whilst he is paternalistic he isn’t going to tell Maeve how to behave as she finds her feet with her colleagues battling sexism and what I would term as plain bad behaviour by some of her fellow officers.
The crime at the heart of this book is a shocking one, not for the faint-hearted, and one that gives Maeve an opportunity to demonstrate some of her fantastic observational skills that become apparent throughout this brilliant series.
As this book was more than double the length of Elizabeth Haynes it undoubtedly felt more in-depth and from my perspective makes for a great introduction into the series. As a seasoned and devotee to Maeve Kerrigan this was a chance to remind myself how much I enjoy the character whilst awaiting the next book in the series.
Left for Dead was my thirtieth read in my Mount TBR Challenge 2017, having been purchased in October 2013.
First Published UK: 25 July 2013
Publisher: Ebury Digital
No of Pages: 110
Genre: Crime Fiction
The Maeve Kerrigan Series in Order
The Last Girl
The Stranger You Know
After The Fire
Let the Dead Speak