Sara-Jayne Townsend is a published crime and horror writer and likes books in which someone dies horribly. She is founder and Chair Person of the T Party Writers’ Group. http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com/
Nick Belsey is not in a good place. Suspended from Hampstead CID pending a
hearing concerning allegations of gross misconduct, and of no fixed abode, he
is squatting in his former building, with no electricity and no prospects. Then
a knock on the door of the abandoned building changes things – a woman wants to
hire Nick to find her middle-aged son, missing for two days.
It doesn’t take long for Nick to discover that the
son, Mark Doughty, had been stalking young starlet Amber Knight, and he decides
to start his investigations in the sordid world of celebrity. It becomes clear
that Amber is hiding secrets, but why is she lying about not knowing Mark
Doughty when a CCTV camera captures them both entering a hotel together? When a
body turns up in the woods, appearing to be that of Mark Doughty, Nick’s
investigations take a much more sinister turn. Can he get to the heart of the
secret that connects Amber Knight and Mark Doughty, before anyone else dies?
This is a dark novel, in more ways than one, and it’s
difficult to empathise with Nick Belsey, who really doesn’t have many endearing
character traits. In fact it’s hard to find a likeable character in this novel.
But they all come across as being fairly realistic and the price of fame in the
world of celebrity is effectively portrayed, especially around the circus of
Amber’s wedding, which she has sold to the highest commercial sponsor.
There are a couple of moments when one is asked to
suspend one’s belief – the ease with which Nick seems to be able to stroll into
Amber’s house, as an example. Though, one should be prepared, for if cozy
mysteries are more your thing then this book will make for uncomfortable
reading. However, fans of the ‘noir’ detective story; and of complex
anti-heroes who are far from ‘whiter than white’, then this series is well
worth checking out.