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Judith Culter

NEL £6.99

Reviewed by Gwen Moffat

In this latest Kate Power novel Cutler delves deep into her series character and not always sympathetically. And Power, moving up in the world, having passed her promotion exams, has adopted the lifestyle of middle-ranking detective: chicken tikka takeaways, The Observer on Sunday, good burgundy - alas, from the fridge. Inevitably there is a strong love story; this woman has affairs, not one-night stands, and she cries rather too easily but that makes her human.

The plot of Hidden Power involves a time-share scam in Devonshire. Power, having won some kind of competition, attends a weekend "presentation" with her current partner and discovers a surveillance camera in the bedroom. She infiltrates the organisation, going undercover as a cleaner and working with a detective sergeant so crude that the reader is dying for his murder as soon as the lout makes his appearance.

The violence is a long time coming however, although there is, as the BBC warning goes, nudity and swearing. For all that, the novel comes over as a police cozy and will be much admired by fans of The Bill. Cutler's earlier stories packed more punch, partly in view of their colourful settings. A tacky time-share complex is not something to get excited about.