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.
Despite the slippery grammar suspense is present at the start of this work as a woman suffering from amnesia regains consciousness if not memory to find herself on a train in California.
She steps down on a station platform to a world rendered increasingly fearful as she encounters people who know her, some rather too intimately, and all totally alien. She is terrified by police, by a sinister woman running for president, by a computer keyboard awash with spilled red wine. As suspense becomes unbearable it is deflated by a psychiatrist who has to be one of the good guys because he is linked with the author’s series character, a hand writing expert.
A plot emerges involving powerful people and others avid for power at any cost. Huge money is at stake, and a Viagra-type product with unidentified and suspect side-effects - and there is a whistleblower. So far so good and the reader anticipates a conflict between the little man and big business but is distracted by a revelation that is the oldest cliché in the (crime) book. One continues to read only because it is there. Coy and facetious, punctuated with obscenities, this self-published cosy is sadly in need of an editor.