Author – Susan Wilkins
Published – November 2014
Genre – Crime fiction / Thriller
This is a debut novel by Susan Wilkins who has a wealth of experience as a writer on TV dramas (such as Casualty and Heartbeat) and it shows. The book is a really enjoyable read with lots of action and the writing style means it’s very easy to visualise where the characters are and what’s taking place.
The main character in the book is Kaz Phelps, a former teenage tearaway who is being released from prison after serving a six year sentence for a crime her younger brother Joey committed. We already know that Joey is a bad lot from a graphic murder in the prologue, but despite indications to the contrary Kaz doesn’t believe Joey is beyond redemption. The siblings have been brought up in a gangster family, their father has been the head of the family business, but on her reluctant return to the family home Kaz finds that he’s confined to a wheelchair and Joey has taken control of their empire.
The book is told from multiple points of view and this includes those on the inside of the police investigation. They have been trying to catch Joey for some time and see Kaz’s release as an opportunity for them. Not only does this provide the reader with insight into their efforts but also into the politics of those involved and this is an important part of the story. Detective Chief Superintendent Turnbull manipulates an inexperienced officer to try to go undercover in order to persuade Kaz to inform on her brother – by any means he can. Turnbull comes across as something of a Machiavellian character and this adds an extra dimension to the plot.
The book covers a lot of ground with plenty of action, but not at the expense of developing the characters – especially Kaz herself and Nicci Armstrong who is the main investigating officer. They are similar in many ways – portraying positive female characters even if they are at times on different sides of the law. They both have strong family values that are put to the test.
For a crime thriller this offers a story of more depth and breadth than other in the genre but still offers some grit and gore!
You can see another point of view at Book Addict Shaun. Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy of the book.