The Calling by Alison Bruce

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The Calling by Alison Bruce

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: Young DC Gary Goodhew is a thoughtful, likeable and capable policeman. But when several missing (presumed dead) young women demand his attention, all of his talents are put to the test.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: July 2011
Publisher: Constable
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1849012041

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Although Gary is a young man in his prime, in his line of work he ... had seen dead bodies. And plenty of them. The latest case is a 'missing persons' - a young woman called Kaye has suddenly disappeared. Her whole family is upset and distressed as she missed her gran's birthday celebrations and yes, although it's a cliche, - it's completely unlike her to go awol.

The story's location is in and around Cambridge and we get the blow-by-blow account as DC Goodhew meets the different members of Kaye's family in order to build up a picture of her recent comings and goings. Kaye's mother seems particularly upset. A nice and effective touch by Bruce is that each chapter heading is simply that day's date. Kaye disappeared in March 2011 so that the reader feels a sense of the clock ticking - and still no Kaye.

But the parallel story (at the beginning of the book) is that of Kay's. So we know that she's alive. But we also learn that she's in a place where escape seems highly unlikely. Physically she's in a bad way so that, all in all, time is ticking for the safe return to the bosom of her family for Kaye. And the question most readers will be asking is - will she be found while still alive?

We then cut to another main character who is also a young woman, just like Kaye. She shows erratic, weird behaviour in public, but then that's not a crime. But this behaviour does catch the eye of various individuals. A local landlady even has a nickname for this girl - Greta (after the film star Greta Garbo). It looks as if 'Greta' is watching someone very intently, perhaps even stalking them. Why? The plot develops nicely and it ripples along at an even pace.

This is the type of book that once I've read say, a chapter or so, then I just know I'm going to enjoy it. It has that 'feel' about it. Good characters and a good (believable) plot courtesy of Bruce.

Goodhew is methodical and thorough in his police procedures. No stone left unturned would describe it nicely, I think. There's some innocent flirting going on with a few of the female members of staff and there's also a touch of rivalry for the decent Gary to contend with. All of this adds a little spice to the story.

As the various characters are introduced I found them all to be credible. Ordinary but credible. Bruce doesn't use fancy language nor does she give her readers blood and gore unnecessarily. She simply tells a good story well and I appreciated it.

There's plenty of time in the book for some background detail on some of the characters but Bruce does not swamp you with irrelevant facts. A certain level of suspicion and menace lurks in the background. I haven't read either of Bruce's two previous novels but after enjoying this book, I would happily read them both. I liked her style of no-nonsense but effective story-telling. A good, all-round read where all the pieces of the jigsaw are eventually put into place. Recommended.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you might like to try Cambridge Blue also by Alison Bruce.

Alison Bruce's DC Gary Goodhew Novels in Chronological Order

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