Risk of Harm by Lucie Whitehouse
|Risk of Harm by Lucie Whitehouse|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: DCI Robin Lyons is back in her home town and working for the man who broke her heart nearly twenty years ago. She's faced with an horrific murder, but who is the victim. A brilliant read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 432||Date: July 2021|
|Publisher: Fourth Estate|
|External links: Author's website|
DCI Robin Lyons is back in her native Birmingham after her less-than-comfortable departure from the Met. She might have been reinstated but the whole episode left a nasty taste in her mouth. She was now working for Detective Chief Superintendent Samir Jaffrey - then the man who had broken her heart nearly twenty years before. She and her fifteen-year-old daughter have moved out of her parent's home into a rented house but there's still a difficult situation with her brother Luke who has gone out of his way to make life difficult for Robin since she was a young child. He's married to Natalie, now and has a young child but he's still got it in for Robin.
Samir backed employing Robin despite the doubts of ACC Kilmartin: Samir is convinced that she's the best detective around. Their relationship is that of good friends now - Samir is married to Liz and has two children but Robin is aware that it was Luke who broke up the relationship between her and Samir. She tries to keep the exchanges between them polite for her parent's sake but it isn't easy. Then the body is found.
She'll become known as the Gisborne girl after the derelict works where she was found but Robin and her team struggle to find any way of identifying her. She's eighteen or so years old, twenty at the most and very attractive. Why has no one missed her? Why does no one recognise her? There was another murder - of a sixteen-year-old black boy- on the same day and days later another woman is found stabbed in similar circumstances to the Gisborne girl. Local tensions run high when social media questions why the police have arrested someone (a classmate of the young boy) for the murder of a black boy but don't have any suspects for the murders of two white women - one of whom they haven't even managed to identify yet.
Some police procedurals I pick up and enjoy well enough: I know roughly how it's going to go and I'm interested to see how the author brings us to the denouement. Just occasionally I find myself reading a book that grabs me and insists that I pay attention to what's going on. Risk of Harm was one of these books. It's clever without being too clever for its own good. The solution requires a massive leap but Lucie Whitehouse handles this with aplomb and what happened seemed completely credible. It's helped, of course, by some excellent characterisation.
I completely fell for Lennie Lyons, Robin's fifteen-year-old daughter, who comes off the page pitch-perfect: sometimes she's mature beyond her years and at other times there's the naivety of a child there. You want life to work out for her: you'd like her mother to spend more time with her even when you know that it's not possible.
This was my first Lucie Whitehouse book for quite a while but it won't be my last and I'd like to thank the publishers for making a review copy available to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals to you, you might appreciate The Distant Dead by Lesley Thomson.
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