Every Breath You Take by Sheila Quigley

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Every Breath You Take by Sheila Quigley

Buy Every Breath You Take by Sheila Quigley at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Crime
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A well-turned plot with plenty of dramatic tension, but I guessed 'whodunnit' early on. There are some engaging characters but the local dialect can grate.
Buy? No Borrow? Yes
Pages: 512 Date: December 2007
Publisher: Arrow
ISBN: 978-0099490890

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Detective Inspector Lorraine Hunt and Detective Sergeant Luke Daniels had to fly to Ireland at short notice. This wasn't police business though - Luke's daughter had run away and turned up in Dublin. He and Lorraine, his lover, were going to bring her home. It's whilst they're in the city that Luke realises that he has to commit more time to his daughter who has only recently come into his life - and it looks as though one consequence of this is that his relationship with Lorraine is on the rocks.

Back in Houghton-le-Spring Lorraine doesn't have a lot of time to dwell on what's happened as it quickly becomes apparent that there's a serial killer on the lose. The killings of young women are brutal - their hearts are cut out and replaced with a white rose. Worse still, information about other killings which have happened has been restricted and it seems that it might be a policeman who is the White Rose Killer.

The killer is also getting close to Lorraine Hunt. Selina, Luke's beautiful but wilful daughter, is attacked and left for dead outside a local club. Is it her past which is catching up with her or something even more sinister?

It's a good story with a neatly-turned plot and plenty of dramatic tension. I was at something of a disadvantage in that I took one look at a particular character and decided that this was the killer. I even worked out a motive. Normally what I enjoy most about the police procedural novel is being well and truly duped when I discover that I was completely wrong and when the true killer is unveiled it's so obvious that I really can't believe that I missed it. This time I was right - spot on right - and I felt disappointed!

I liked the characters - some of the minor ones more than the stars, in a strange sort of way. The Lumsden family - making ends meet on a council estate but having more sound common sense than they would generally be credited with - were a delight. Young Mickey, Selina's boyfriend has all the muddle-headedness and good intentions of youth and it struck me that Sheila Quigley has a particular empathy with this age group and a real talent when it comes to bringing them alive from the pages of a book. With the older age groups there seemed to be more stereotypes and much more reliance on the use of local dialect. It might be that locally Detective Inspectors do say 'yer' instead of 'you', as in Yer can open yer eyes now, Luke love... but the constant repetition of such words grated.

More, I felt, could have been made of the fact that Luke Daniels is apparently a black man, which was mentioned just the once. How did this affect his daughter? Was she black or of mixed race? How did this sit in an investigation where the killer was apparently targeting tall, slim, blonde women?

I'm nitpicking, I know. It's not in the top flight of crime writing, but I have read a lot worse and it could well suit you if you're looking for a good story with plenty of local colour. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to The Bookbag.

Another female author writing police procedural novels is Clare Curzon and she's worth a look. Although not strictly a police procedural novel we think that the crime writers to watch are the duo who write as Grace Monroe.

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