Missing by Cath Staincliffe

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Missing by Cath Staincliffe

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Eileen Shaw
Reviewed by Eileen Shaw
Summary: Tough but tender, this should particularly appeal to those who like crime novels with a streak of gritty realism running through them.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: June 2008
Publisher: Allison & Busby
ISBN: 978-0749079352

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Private Eye Sal Kilkenny is an engaging central character. She's a single mother, living in a shared house in Manchester and there is periodic love interest with her house-partner, Ray, to lighten the atmosphere when required. Three cases occupy her in this book - a missing mother, a missing asylum-seeker and a man looking for his birth-mother. However, I've read at least two books with the same title recently and maybe the PR team of her publisher (Allison & Busby) need to look at the originality of their thinking? Plastering the front of the book with the legend Death Stalks Manchester's Mean Streets in a vague effort to summon the ghost of Raymond Chandler doesn't do a lot for the tenor and tone of the book, which is light on wisecracks and scores a total of two deaths throughout, neither of which occur in Manchester.

Which is not to say this is not a good read. It most definitely is, with a crisp, economic style and a believable set of scenarios. I like Cath Staincliffe's down-to-earth, un-histrionic style. When tragic events occur Sal Kilkenny is affected. She is not the kind of private eye to shrug things off and bury them deep in her workaday world. She is, in other words, more like us, or more like we'd like to think we are. She's empathetic and kind, with a set of honourable ethics and a sense that people matter. But she's not a wuss either and has a few unorthodox moves in her repertoire. The Sal Kilkenny books are a welcome change from crime novels that put suspense before making the world they are writing about a recognisable place.

Gratitude is due to the publishers for sending this book for review.

Enjoying Staincliffe's down to earth realism put me in mind of Slipknot by Priscilla Masters - an equally gritty read with strongly believable protagonists. Others in a similar vein are: Mark Billingham's In the Dark and Savage Moon by Chris Simms, which is also set in Manchester.

Buy Missing by Cath Staincliffe at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Missing by Cath Staincliffe at Amazon.co.uk

Buy Missing by Cath Staincliffe at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Missing by Cath Staincliffe at Amazon.com.


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