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Sunday, 6 September 2009
By Leigh Russell
This is my kind of book; intelligently written, gripping crime fiction.
The crime, and its detection, are at the heart of the story, but rather than just being plot-driven, the novel is also notable for its large cast of well-drawn characters.
The intricacy of the plot relies on a delicate placing of events and characters. Nothing is wasted and nothing feels out of place.
There is an extra something – almost undefinable – that lifts Cut Short above the run of the mill. In particular, it has a clever and unexpected extra plot strand which leads to a genuine surprise at the end when it is eventually revealed. This lifts it above the ordinary and makes the story both poignant and haunting, providing a truly memorable read.
This novel also has great atmosphere and sense of place. The reader really gets to know the place where it is set and that knowledge adds depth to the plot. It really matters to the protagonists where certain events happen – and so it matters to the reader as well.
The characters do not exist just to further the plot, but are vividly painted and memorable. The young girls who become victims are not just victims – they are real people with reasons to be grieved. DI Geraldine Steel is a gripping main character who increases the reader’s empathy and interest in the plot. I also really enjoyed the skilfully created character of DCI Kathryn Gordon and the realistic interaction between Geraldine and other members of the investigating team.
I’m sure that, like me, you will enjoy Cut Short and look forward to Leigh Russell’s forthcoming books Road Closed and Dead End.
Reviewed by Helen M Hunt