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by Maureen Carter
Crème de la Crime, July 2009
271 pages
7.99 GBP
ISBN: 0955707870

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Maureen Carter's Bev Morriss series is one of my favourites. There's a tough and mouthy lead character, a believable supporting cast, snappy dialogue and it's set in the UK's much-maligned second city of Birmingham. What's not to like?

When BLOOD MONEY opens, Bev's in a really bad place. All the personal crap that's fallen on her shoulders in the previous books has caught up with her – and even friends and family are starting to avoid her.

So she goes in like a bulldozer on the latest case. The Sandman is a truly nasty burglar who wears a clown mask and plays unpleasant mind games with his victims. Very soon the case spirals into blackmail, abduction and murder. And not everyone involved is co-operative when it comes to helping the police.

BLOOD MONEY gallops along at a cracking pace, with some neat little twists on the way. It's dark and very creepy – and proves my point that clowns are inherently sinister and not in the least funny!

But Bev is, as always, the glue that binds the book together. Just occasionally Carter leans a bit too heavily on the snappy slang in her dialogue, but she shows unmistakably how vulnerable Bev is underneath all the mouthing-off. There's angst by the lorryload, but Carter gets away with it, as she shows Bev moving and changing in her life – not always positively.

The police supporting cast have always come across convincingly, and that's still the case in BLOOD MONEY. Bev is still trying to fathom out her relationship with boss Det Supt Bill Byford. And a blast from the past reappears at one stage as well . . .

There's a slightly weak subplot involving the cousin of a colleague which gets wrapped up too quickly at the end, almost as an after-thought. But aside from that BLOOD MONEY is dark, angsty and another strong addition to a superlative series.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, November 2009

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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