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FOOTSTEPS ON THE SHORE
by Pauline Rowson
Severn House, August 2011
224 pages
11.99 GBP
ISBN: 1847513263


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Detective Inspector Andy Horton's day gets off to a bad start when he finds that his beloved Harley has been vandalized. Someone has etched a strange symbol into the paintwork of his motorbike and he wants to know what it means and who did it, but before he can follow up on this, he learns that convicted murderer Luke Felton, recently released from prison, has gone missing. Horton gets busier still when a decomposed corpse is washed up in the mud of Portsmouth Harbour. With his boss, DCI Lorraine Bliss, demanding results, Horton finds himself under pressure, but getting nowhere fast.

When Horton accidentally compromises a drugs operation, he hands Bliss the ammunition she needs to make his life even more difficult, especially when it looks as if there might be more to Felton's past conviction that originally met the eye, but reopening an old case isn't what he's meant to be doing. Matters are further complicated when a woman is bludgeoned to death and her boat is stolen.

DI Andy Horton is cut from familiar cloth. His marriage is on the rocks and his soon-to-be ex- wife wants to keep him away from their daughter. He's trying to unravel a secret from his own past about his mother who went missing years ago, and he's reluctantly starting to believe she may have had underworld connections. Oh, and he doesn't get on with his boss, either. In all those respects, FOOTSTEPS ON THE SHORE is treading a well-worn path. But, that aside, this is a reasonably competent, albeit somewhat lightweight, police procedural that kept my attention, but frankly, at only 216 pages, there wasn't much time to lose me en-route.

I could have done without several last minute red-herrings that came thick and fast in the closing stages when no sooner does Horton reach a conclusion than he instantly makes another mental leap to a different one. As a means of creating tension, this sort of plot gymnastics very quickly starts to irritate. On top of that, the link between the various murders struck me as too contrived to be convincing but, on the positive side, the book has a good sense of place and, for all his somewhat stereotypical features, Horton himself comes over fairly well. I think this is a series I'll be willing to dip into again.

Linda Wilson is a writer, and retired solicitor, with an interest in archaeology and cave art, who now divides her time between England and France.

Reviewed by Linda Wilson, October 2011

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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