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by Linda Regan
Crème de la Crime, June 2009
280 pages
7.99 GBP
ISBN: 0955707889

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Linda Regan's day job is as an actress – and she brings that experience into her police procedural series. Mind you, she does seem to know all about some rather dodgy provincial fleapits!

In DEAD LIKE HER, angst-ridden pair DCI Paul Banham and DI Alison Grainger are back for another outing. They've been promoted, and their latest case has them on the trail of a killer who's bumping off Marilyn Monroe look-alikes.

The investigation takes them into a seedy club, and soon there's people trafficking and drug-running to add to the equation. And to complicate the enquiry, there's an over-zealous newcomer on the police team who's causing problems.

Regan's a fluent-enough storyteller, and the book is a quick and easy read with some real tension towards the end. But DEAD LIKE HER is like the others in the series in that it lacks depth. There's nothing much in the way of a sub-plot, and the book is rather encumbered by the various romances and crushes among the investigating team.

The snag with the characters – particularly the leading man and woman – is that they're hard to warm to. Banham, who is still mourning the death of his wife and kid, also has an angsty sister and nephew to deal with. And he's a character who really doesn't have much in the way of backbone! He and Grainger are still circling each other. She's not a particularly likeable character either, with her short temper and tiresome fixation with her body shape.

One thing I found odd in DEAD LIKE HER is that it has little sense of place – apparently it's set in South London, but it could be anywhere. And considering the multi-racial make-up of the city, the police have a white, small-town feel to them.

I wasn't much taken with the casual racist and homophobic comments from characters in BEHIND YOU!, the first in the series. In book three, I note that the baddies are various combinations of gay, black or cross-dressers, while the police are straight and white. To be honest, it left me feeling faintly uncomfortable.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, October 2009

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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