DCI Paul Banham and DI Alison Grainger are back. This time they’re investigating the tragic death of a young woman, burnt in her home. When another identical arson attack is reported, Grainger and Banham are on the hunt for a link, unaware that the new trainee DC, Hannah Kemp, already knows the connection.
She also knows that if she comes forward with the information, her own past will come to light, and she’ll potentially lose her job. But, if she doesn’t, more women will lose their lives.
Hannah knows who they are, and she knows their attacker will stop at nothing to keep his ring of illegal prostitutes earning. Once he realises Hannah is now a police detective, she, too, will be in mortal danger.
As the clock ticks against her own life, she must decide whether to stay quiet for the sake of her career, or risk everything she’s worked for to stop a ruthless killer once and for all.
I had the pleasure of reading the previous books in this series so had got to know some of the characters. DCI Paul Banham and DI Alison Grainger not only work together in the Murder Investigation Team, but live together. In the previous book they were due to get married but other things got in the way. At times their relationship seems a little strained as Grainger feels that Banham doesn’t always give her the full reins when she is given a job, she feels like he hovers over her. I’m not sure that this relationship would actually be allowed in real life, especially with emotions getting in the way.
Three people die in a fire, Banham puts Grainger in charge as SIO. Before they had left for work they had looked at maps of surrounding streets of where the fire had happened, Grainger had also worked out who she wanted doing what in her team. With a new trainee, DC Hannah Kemp, joining them she needed to partner her with someone, that ended up being DS Colin Crowther known to be a bit of a ladies man. The rest of the team are DS Stephanie Green who seems to be permanently eating, as well as getting whatever she is eating all down her clothing. There is a lot of banter between her and Crowther which at times becomes a little sexist, again unsure how this would go down in the current climate. DC Luke Hughes who had previously been injured on the job and is now in a wheelchair is determined to continue working, so he does lots of the office work with the computers.
It’s not long before the team realise who the target of the fire was Danielle Low, sadly the other victims were collateral damage. But who wanted Danielle dead? It’s not long before there is another death, again arson. The new trainee knows both victims but dare she tell DI Grainger how she knows them?
This is a well paced and well plotted story. With characters you either like or you don’t, there are plenty of suspects to keep you guessing along with several twists and turns. I read this in one sitting, the investigation is good, but at times I felt like some of the detectives were like children in the playground constantly being told off by Banham and Grainger. There were a few times that things became a little repetitive.
However, this is an enjoyable read that kept me entertained, I don’t think some of the behaviours would be allowed within the police force, but this is fiction. I like Grainger and Banham and can’t wait to see where they go next. Will they actually get married or not. I loved how Banham got attached to a dog and constantly made some faux pas with Grainger when he said the dog reminded him of her.
If you are looking for a fairly light detective read then grab a copy of this. A good read, nicely plotted, some great characters, which for me personally is important. Loose ends were tied up nicely, and there were plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. A very engaging read from start to finish.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Linda Regan is the prolific writer of eight crime novels, as well as a celebrated actress of stage and screen. After winning a worldwide writing competition with her novel Behind You! (2006), Linda published seven more novels, including Passion Killers (2007) which was selected as a Sunday Observer pick of the year. Since then, she has written the immensely popular DI Johnson series (2015) and the DCI Banham series (2019).
In addition to her writing, Linda is a much-loved actress, known for her recurring role in the hit BBC sitcom Hi-De-Hi, and guest appearances in popular shows The Bill, Birds of a Feather, Doctors, and Holby City. Before joining the cast of Hi-De-Hi, Linda started out in a comedy dance troupe in her youth before going on to a lead role in the West End production of Tom Stoppard’s Dirty Linen. Playing such vivid and iconic characters throughout her career, has helped Linda to develop character focused stories that bring a uniquely immersive filmic quality to the page.
In addition to her acting, Linda uses her personal experiences to write her signature brand of “strong crime”. All of Linda’s novels are set in South London, where Linda writes with meticulous knowledge of the landscape where she grew up and currently lives with her husband, actor Brian Murphy.