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by Maureen Carter
Crème de la Crime, July 2010
288 pages
7.99 GBP
ISBN: 0956056636

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

DS Bev Morriss has a mouth the size of Spaghetti Junction and the ability to cause a ruckus in an empty room. If you've followed her progress through the previous six novels, you'll know she has a train wreck of a private life and is what might be called focussed when it comes to work. She doesn't even need to go looking for trouble – it finds her every time.

In DEATH LINE, ten-year-old Josh Banks disappears and is later found dead on waste ground. The murder of a child hits the team hard – but the enquiry leaks like a sieve and the new police press officer Paul Curran is always on the back foot as the media seem to know exactly what's going on.

Bev's also got her boss, Detective Superintendent Bill Byford, on her mind. They've always been close, but there's close and there's close… He's facing an internal enquiry after a previous case. And even if he's cleared, it looks like he'll bail out. And Bev isn't sure where that will leave her, both professionally and personally.

Carter's storytelling is flinty and no-nonsense. She's a touch heavy on the slang at times, but the dialogue fizzes off the page. And the book is populated by real, vivid people – police, the media and punters alike. I always watch out for Bev's solid and dependable DC colleague Mac, and flashy DI Mike Powell, whom she's always had an ambivalent relationship with.

This series is one of my on-going favourites, with its lippy heroine, urban Birmingham setting and hard-hitting plots straight off the front pages of the newspapers. And, as in the previous books, you can be sure Carter will fire a stonking ending out of left-field that will leave you reeling and cursing the fact the next instalment won't be along for a year!

§ Sharon Wheeler is a UK-based journalist, writer and lecturer.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, August 2010

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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