I started a new series today. Yup… another one! A British police procedural (my favorite kind) set in the Pennine foothills of northern England on the outskirts of Manchester.
The story follows an investigation into what is perceived to be a serial murder. Both victims are young thugs/criminals who spend their time on a low income housing estate selling drugs and worse. The Hobfield estate holds out little optimism for the youth who live there. They all seem sullen and antagonistic towards police. Their future looks grim.
Can the murderer perchance be getting rid of the trash?
The Detective Inspector on the case is Tom Calladine. He is in his early fifties, a workaholic, and a bit of a womanizer with commitment phobia. He has a steady ‘girl-friend’ whom he doesn’t love, and an elderly mother in a nursing home. An old-fashioned copper who works on his instincts, his views are not always popular with the higher ups. Also, he has some family history that precludes him from rising any farther up the ranks…
Tom’s second in command is Rachel Bayliss. She always has his back and looks out for his personal life as well, though not in a romantic way. (at least not yet)
The setting is the village of Leesdon, but the author has taken some artistic liberties to enhance the novel.
The brutal and hideous crimes against the bodies of the two victims make Tom believe he is NOT dealing with the usual gang war. This is someone who takes a personal pleasure in meting out retribution.
When a beautiful and overly ambitious young journalist is contacted by the killer, she goes to Calladine with her knowledge. She agrees to hold back what she knows temporarily so as not to hinder the investigation.
Written with skill and in-depth characterization, this is just the kind of mystery I love to read. That being said, I must warn you that the novel is graphically violent and is not for the squeamish.
I will definitely follow the Calladine and Bayliss series – and I’m already anticipating the next titles “Dead silent” , “Dead list“, and “Dead lost“.
Helen H. Durrant has written several mystery novels, all set in Northern England.
In her spare time she is a birdwatcher.