Gwen Moffat lives in Cumbria. Her novels are set in remote communities ranging from the Hebrides to the American West. The crimes fit their environment, swelling that dreadful record of sin in the smiling countryside cited by Sherlock Holmes. The style echoes this: rustic charm masking horror.
In today's crazy financial climate the crime buff has little interest in murder involving a sum less than the value of his own assets. Theft of the winning ticket for the Lottery's eighteen million pound rollover is something else but for the small matter of claiming the money. When journalist, Danny Cain, gets a call from his friend and partner, Vince Mayo, summoning him to drop everything and come over to celebrate his fantastic win, Cain is incredulous but compliant, and walks into catastrophe.
He arrives to find his friend battered to death and the lottery ticket missing. Simple enough: who wouldn't murder for eighteen million? Except that Cain hasn't time to consider the question before a call from the self-confessed killer instructs him to go home, which he does to find his wife and small daughter missing. Another call, and the demand that if his family is to be spared Cain must stay schtum about both the murder and the lottery ticket. He goes on the run, searching for his loved ones, hunted by the killer - who needs to eliminate the whole family - and by the police for whom he's the prime suspect.
More than one crime goes wrong here and the story is further complicated by switches from the first person narrative of the desperate Cain to the third person for his wife, the police team, even the killer. The novel reads like reportage, appropriate where investigative journalism is involved. It will transfer easily to television and if the concept of murder for a lottery ticket is accepted the denouement and unmasking of the killer is in context: unexpected and shocking but plausible.