Cut to the Bone (DI Meg Dalton) by Roz Watkins

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Cut to the Bone (DI Meg Dalton) by Roz Watkins

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: It's number three in the series but reads well as a standalone. There are some important points made about animal welfare and you really should read the author's note at the back of the book.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: June 2020
Publisher: HQ
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0008214708

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DI Meg Dalton and Ds Jai Sanghera are dealing with the case of a missing teenager. Violet Armstrong is well-known as a vlogger - championing the cause of meat-eating. She barbeques meat wearing only a bikini and has attracted the attention of animal rights activists. The meat-eaters (they wear meat suits) are determined that Meg Dalton is corrupt and not running a decent investigation (obviously she only got the job because she's a woman) because she's a vegetarian. As if the case wasn't enough, Meg's father is coming to stay with her despite having had little to do with her for fifteen years and Jai's convinced that his girlfriend, Suki, doesn't like his children and that she wants more, but he doesn't.

Anna Finchley owns the local abattoir and this was where Violet's car was found after she disappeared. There are suspicious circumstances too. Violet seemed to be in some sort of a relationship with Gary Finchley, Anna's brother, but Gary's married and he's also never come to terms with the fact that the abattoir was left to his sister and not to him. Gary has something of a gambling addiction to add to his other problems.

It's the Peak District and Roz Watkins takes full advantage of the local landscapes and myths. This time, it's The Pale Child. If you see the 'apparition' you're going to die and there are rather too many examples of this having happened for the locals to ignore the stories. The child appeared many years ago before the death of Lucas, Kirsty Nightingale's boyfriend in a drunk-driving accident. Daniel Twigg did time for causing the death and has been trying to atone ever since. Then there's the problem of the identity of Violet Armstrong's birth mother - and the even thornier difficulty of who fathered the child.

Now you're going to need to be in the wide-awake club with this plot. It isn't overly-complex and there aren't too many characters, but this story has been constructed carefully, with facts you might easily pass by having more impact than you'd believe possible. I lost count of the number of times I came to the conclusion that I had it sorted and knew the identity of the wrong 'un - only to find that I was completely off beam. The final solution is ingenious, to say the least.

I liked Meg Dalton: she's human enough to be gullible, particularly where the family's concerned, but with a real commitment to getting the job done. I'd like to see more of DS Craig Cooper - he's annoying enough to be interesting!

There's an important issue at the heart of this book and I don't think that I'm giving too much away by saying that it's animal welfare - but I'm not going to say more than that. I rarely suggest that people read Author's Notes at the back of the book, but this time I'm going to beg you to read it. It's important and I think a lot of people will be shocked.

This is book three of a series and I haven't read the two earlier books, but the plot read perfectly well as a standalone and I'm looking forward to seeing what Roz Watkins writes next. I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag have a review copy.

For more Peak District Crime we can recommend Stephen Booth's Cooper and Fry series. Tweens will enjoy Undercover Princess (The Rosewood Chronicles) by Connie Glynn better known as vlogger Noodlerella.

Roz Watkins' DI Meg Dalton Books in Chronological Order

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