The Siren by Alison Bruce

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The Siren by Alison Bruce

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: Young DC Gary Goodhew has another case to solve. Alongside nurturing a good working relationship with his new colleagues, he's drawn into a murky world of arson, kidnapping - and murder.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: July 2011
Publisher: Robinson
ISBN: 978-1849016070

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I recently read and reviewed Bruce's The Calling and thoroughly enjoyed it so I was hoping that this book would be equally good. The location is once again Cambridge. Two young women hastily meet up after hearing a local news item. A male body has been discovered in a gruesome and sorry state and has sent the two women into a right old flap. Although both are now in steady relationships and Kimberly is a mum, they obviously share a shady past together. It was a joke between them: Kimberly gets them both into trouble, Rachel gets them out.

One of them is in trouble now and she's advised to get out of Cambridge for her own safety. But does she heed this well-intentioned advice? We also learn that one of women's partners is a nasty piece of work - he's far too handy with his fists.

Just as I'm getting to know Kimberly and Rachel a little better, two major events happen in quick succession. Rachel's home is gutted by fire (was anyone at home?) and Kimberly's toddler, Riley has somehow disappeared. Bruce takes her time and tells her readers exactly how these events happened alongside the lead-up and the aftermath. So I'm involved good and proper in the storyline and I really want to know if an innocent young boy is safe and well ... and so does DC Gary Goodhew.

We meet Gary out on a night on the town (well, sort of, Gary-style) with a mate, Bryn. Both are young and single but that's where the similarity ends. Bryn is up for a laugh, up for a date. But Gary is altogether more subdued, more serious and comes across much older than his years. Not a bad thing perhaps, in police work. I like Gary. He has some good qualities and in this book Bruce shares more of his background. The other characters also come across as both interesting and credible. The plot is plausible and the narrative good which all makes for an engrossing read.

As the story deepens and the police become more specific in their investigations, we get a glimpse of the dynamics of the local police station. Gary (nice chap that he is) is not universally liked. Other colleagues have their own agendas. And others are trying to settle into new jobs and new roles. The plot itself is fairly intricate starting out in the present but digging right back to the 1980s. But in the present day Bruce keeps local to Cambridge and keeps her readers involved by a nice running commentary (when appropriate) in naming various streets, pubs, restaurants etc.

Bruce is so detailed and thorough that at times I felt I could see inside Gary's brain - hear him thinking and planning his next move. He's methodical and not averse to thinking outside the box, which I liked. He's also trusted enough by his superiors to work unaccompanied at times. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep most crime-reading fans happy. Another very enjoyable read from Bruce. 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 The Calling also by Alison Bruce.

Alison Bruce's DC Gary Goodhew Novels in Chronological Order

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