Review: Rebecca Bradley – Shallow Waters

shallow-watersI read Shallow Waters, the debut novel by Rebecca Bradley, over a month ago and enjoyed it. It’s taken me an age to review simply because of the amount of time I’ve been dedicating to my second book, the sequel to In Bitter Chill. It’s eaten into my reading time and has also meant I’m behind on writing reviews of books that I have read. However, as my own novel has now been sent to an early reader, I’m using the time to catch up.

Shallow Waters is set in Nottingham where a young girl is found murdered in an alleyway. When another girl is killed, detectives working on the murder investigation, led by DI Hannah Robbins, embark on a hunt for the murderer under the full glare of media scrutiny. Progress is slow and the manner of deaths horrifying. The race is on to prevent more victims of the terrifying crimes.

Bradley is an ex-murder detective and brings a wealth of her knowledge to the story. Shallow Waters is solidly in the police procedural genre. I don’t read as many of these types of crime novels these days and it was good to return to this style of writing with a book that contains such a wealth of detail. It’s a fairly harrowing read because of the subject matter and the focus on the police investigation helps to mitigate the horror of some of the story.

This is a strong debut from a writer who clearly knows the realities of working on a murder investigation and it is very well plotted. I hope it’s the first in a series as Hannah Robbins has an interesting back story and plenty more to give to a crime story.



Review: Thomas Mogford – Sleeping Dogs

sleepingdogsThomas Mogford is another of my favourite crime writers. Hollow Mountain was in my top five reads last year and he continues to write high quality crime fiction. For his latest book, Sleeping Dogs, he takes his Gibraltarian lawyer/detective to Corfu. It’s a nice change of scenery for the series and, given that I read it in Greece, a perfect holiday read.

Spike Sanguinetti is advised by a therapist to go on holiday to help eradicate some of the demons that have been tormenting him. He chooses to visit the house of his business partner on the wealthy north coast of Corfu. But his holiday is overshadowed by the death of the handsome Greek/Albanian Arben on the neighbouring estate owned by the wealthy Hoffman family. When the son of his hosts’s housekeeper is arrested for Arben’s murder, Spike reluctantly agrees to investigate the case. However lives are put at risk as domestic secrets and dynastic feuds ignite.

I’ve always been impressed by the evocation of the Gibraltar setting in Mogford’s books. It feels genuine even though I’ve never been to that part of the world. So it was interesting to read one of his narratives set somewhere I am familiar with: a Greek island. Mogford puts enough language and local flavour into descriptions of the place to bring alive the setting without it dominating the plot.

In Sleeping Dogs, as well as investigating the killing of Arben, there’s a focus on Spike’s domestic arrangements. This is first seen through his relationship with Charlie, the child he rescued in the previous book, Hollow Mountain, and then in Corfu as he attempts to resurrect his relationship with his childhood girlfriend Jessica.

The quality of Mogford’s writing once more shines through and he makes storytelling look effortless. Which I’m pretty sure isn’t the case. Once more Bloomsbury have produced a writer of quality crime fiction.

Thanks to Bloomsbury for my review copy.