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by Judith Cutler
Allison & Busby, January 2007
288 pages
18.99 GBP
ISBN: 0749081678

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

COLD PURSUIT is a welcome return for Chief Supt Frances Harman, whom we last saw in LIFE SENTENCE being faced with difficult and ailing parents and impending retirement.

In the new book the former have been dealt with her father is dead following a fall, and her mother has moved to Scotland to be nearer Frances's sister. But the latter is still hanging over her.

Frances has been approached to do some lecturing in universities, but has to put this on hold when the Chief Constable and her Assistant Chief Constable lover Mark Turner ask her to delay her retirement to help out while a colleague is in hospital.

Cutler has several series on the go, of which the Frances one is the most satisfying in my view. She presents a strong, capable female character who is clearly respected professionally, and has built a solid personal relationship with Mark.

Cutler is an exuberant writer and in the past I've found her to be a little over-keen to supply you with every cough and spit of information that you might conceivably need and a lot more than you don't! This time, apart from too much information already about the Black Country (this book is set in Kent, nowhere near the West Midlands!), Cutler reins in the waffle.

There's a fluent and serviceable plot involving a sex offender who continually gives police the slip, a group of youngsters taking part in the inaccurately-named 'happy slapping', and a TV reporter who may or may not be being stalked. But COLD PURSUIT is good, character-driven crime fiction with a leading woman and supporting man you care about.

In other books some of Cutler's supporting cast have been under-drawn, but there's a convincing angle here on the seemingly capable DCI Jill Tanner suddenly behaving very oddly.

The book could have done with some better proof-reading. In a couple of places there are wrong names the feisty Scottish vicar has two surnames! Oh, and it's GCHQ, not CGHQ.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, January 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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