Book Review: Running Out of Road by Cath Staincliffe

It’s always good to read a new novel set in the Peak District especially one written by one of my favourite crime writers. There’s so much wonderful landscape to choose from in the Derbyshire Peaks but Satincliffe never lets it get in the way of a good plot.

Scarlett is abducted after school by her estranged father, the violent Gregory Martin, and her kidnapping brings back terrifying memories for the young girl. They meet 17 year-old Dylan, county lines drug dealer whose life is spiralling out of control following death of addict Petey. Ron is a retired detective looking after a property while the owners are away. It should the last place where trouble is brought to him. While the hunt is on for Scarlett, the investigation led by DS Laura O’Neill, takes dramatic twists and turns. The lives and investigations into both crimes involving both Gregory and Dylan intersect in a dramatic and tense way as the Peak District experiences a bout of atrocious weather.

I love how Staincliffe cleverly entwines the various plot strands without forgetting about the personal dramas of each character. She excels at showing what the impact of a crime has on everyone involved – the victim’s family, the community, the investigative team, and even the criminal. She’s very good at detective duos. The police characters are never composite sketches but well drawn and interesting characters. I loved both detectives including PC Ahmed Ali. The Peak District comes to life – it always makes a great plot setting but the author has really nailed the bleak atmosphere.

I always look forward to the next Staincliffe and each book just gets better and better.

New Book News: The Shadowing

I see I haven’t posted since February! I’ve had a busy few months and things will be getting even busier over the summer and the autumn. I’ve a good few crime reads stacked up to review which I’m going to get cracking on next week. In the meantime, here’s some book news from me.

My next novel, The Shadowing, is published on the 16th September. It’s another Rhiannon Ward book set this time in the 1830s.

When Hester, a Quaker living in Bristol, learns of her sister Mercy’s death at a Nottinghamshire workhouse, she travels to Southwell to find out how her sister ended up at such a place.

Haunted by her sister’s ghost, Hester sets out to uncover the truth, when the official story reported by the workhouse master proves to be untrue. Mercy was pregnant – both her and the baby are said to be dead of cholera, but the workhouse hasn’t had an outbreak for years. 

Hester discovers a strange trend in the workhouse of children going missing. One woman tells her about the Pale Lady, a ghostly figure that steals babies in the night. Is this lady a myth or is something more sinister afoot at the Southwell poorhouse? 

As Hester investigates, she uncovers a conspiracy, one that someone is determined to keep a secret, no matter the cost…

I hope you enjoy another slice of gothic. The Shadowing can be pre-ordered here.