“The Journey’s Inn, Lark’s Estate, Manchester. Three bodies have been found, stabbed to death in their beds. The husband and father of two of the victims has fled. The police are in a race against time to find him – especially when they discover his two young sons are also missing…”
It is quite clear from the back of this book, exactly what has happened and what the inevitable outcome will be. However, this should be seen as a challenge as to how the author Cath Staincliffe gets us there.
Janet Scott, wife, mother, daughter, lover and detective is still struggling to come to terms with the stabbing she suffered at the hands of a criminal they were trying to catch. The after effects are still rippling out and the scars have yet to heal emotionally. But she needs to put this to one side and use her skills to draw out the truth in this particular case.
Rachel Bailey is a detective she does not have to balance anything other than her work. However, when family suddenly reappears in an unexpected way she has to now try and balance work and life, something which she is not very good at. Rachel will not let anyone know if she needs help – to her it shows weakness and to get on she cannot show that in front of her colleagues. Her sheer determination is arrogant when it comes to the case they are all working on and she soon goes off on impulse with very little care for anyone’s safety. It’s this arrogance which infuriates her colleagues and me as a reader!
Gill Murray is the one who has to try and balance Janet and Rachel’s work methods; to make them and the rest of her team in the Manchester Metropolitan Police come together when there is three dead bodies, a missing father and two young boys. All this whilst her own son seems to be avoiding not just her but her ex husband too. Gill wants to be a mother but needs to be a Detective Inspector too but why do her officers look up to her and respect her decisions and requests but not her own son?
Through these three main characters we go through the five days of the investigation and how difficult it is not to just react but to stop, think and take the correct course of action when perhaps the public and even colleagues may think it is the wrong path. Everything has to be covered, every angle looked at and all the evidence weighed up and collated, recorded for future reference. If you need to make sure a conviction will stick, there cannot be any loose ends that are not tied up. Cath Staincliffe does this very well in this book and I felt as I was racing along with the plot that I was learning something at the same time.
The author has yet again brought to life the characters which some may be familiar with from the ITV series and put them in a believable story with supporting characters and real places which bring a certain about of gritty realism to the story and make it a very good read.
Thank you to the publisher for this copy and also much thanks to the author for writing it and no pressure for the third novel!
It is very strange to be reading a book based on characters from a programme which I have only watched a couple of episodes of the very first series. The third series is currently (as of the date of this post) being broadcast. That said, the two actors who play Janet Scott and Rachel Bailey, Lesley Sharp and Suranne Jones respectively are spot on and I can imagine them playing out exactly what Cath has written for them. Perhaps if they do, then I will be tuned in to watch – but is the film ever as good as the book……