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by Danielle Ramsey
Avon, May 2012
400 pages
6.99 GBP
ISBN: 1847562337

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Seaside towns are more usually associated with fish and chips, candy floss and binge drinking rather than hideously mutilated bodies, so when a headless corpse is washed up on the beach it certainly ruffles some feathers. The body is that of a young woman, but identification is not going to prove easy, as the woman's teeth have been pulled out and her fingers cut off.

Even hardened copper Detective Inspector Jack Brady is shocked by what has happened, but by no means as shocked as he'll be when he gets the news that his ex-girlfriend, Detective Sergeant Simone Henderson, who moved away from the North East after their ill-advised brief fling, has been found in the toilets of a seedy pub, stabbed in the stomach and almost as horrifically mutilated as the corpse on the beach.

Brady is determined to find out what happened and why Henderson was targeted in such a hideous way, but as he digs deeper into the seedier side of life in Whitley Bay, he discovers some things that he would prefer to keep hidden. I've often wondered whether there is some unwritten rule in crime fiction that says coppers have to come complete with enough baggage to fill a left luggage office to bursting and Brady is no exception in that regard. He also has what seems to be the most common first name for a police officer. When Brady uncovers evidence of sex trafficking in the town, it looks like Ramsey and her main character are about to embark on a well-worn path, as the sex trade is now almost as ubiquitous in the genre as drug dealing and murder, but even though VANISHING POINT has sufficient detail to shock, it doesn't descend into cliché or gore for the sake of it, although at times, the details of the suffering endured by some of the victims does make uncomfortable reading.

Ramsey writes with pace and a welcome flair and takes an accomplished trip into the darker side of life that provides thrills and shocks in equal measure.

§ 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, April 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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