Sometimes an offer comes your way and there are one or two words in the inquiry email that grab you immediately.
This is what happened when Dome Press asked me if I would like to be involved in the Blog Tour for Payback.
And those two words were Happy Valley. You see the pen writing duo that created Payback, Carol and Bob Bridgestock, were previously storyline consultants for the gripping TV series, starring Sarah Lancashire and also the equally wonderful Scott and Bailey. Just reading those two words and I was pretty sure I would be in for a damn good story.
And I wasn’t disappointed!
Payback is the first in a brand new series and introduces the character of Charley Mann. Charley is a ambitious and accomplished police officer. She left her beloved Yorkshire to work in the Met, where she has been fast tracked. Returning now to her home town, she is about to take on the role of DI, the first female officer to rise to this rank in the area.
Coming home is bittersweet. Her love for the locality and it’s people is tainted by previous relationships gone sour, both in the work place and her personal life.
Her former mentor, DCI Roper is one such person. Experience has taken the scales from Charley’s eyes, calling into question everything he stands for and certainly his behaviour in the job.
Closer to home Charley is struggling to deal with the attentions of her childhood sweetheart and ex-boyfriend Danny Ray. Now a local reporter, he seems to be popping up all over the complex murder investigation that she finds herself immediately caught up in.
The murders are fascinating. Brutal, with complex crime scenes and seemingly obvious suspects who don’t just fit the profile. It is here that the experience of the writing team is apparent. The procedural writing is more than plausible, it is authentic and gripping, challenging both character and reader to the end.
Charley is a strong independent woman but she isn’t without her ghosts. The balance of power with her ex partner Danny is an interesting power dynamic and the portrayal of control and it’s misuse in a relationship is fascinating and dark.
Charley is a character on the rise professionally but her personal life is complicated and her methods of escape and release are unorthodox and sometime dangerous. At times she is living on the edge, and risks her personal and professional life colliding.
In addition to strong characters and storylines this novel has a fantastic sense of place. The Yorkshire town and it’s surrounding countryside are affectionately, but accurately portrayed. I particularly enjoyed how local folklore peppered the narrative giving the action a truly grounded feel.
If you are looking for a well written and well rounded crime novel, with just the right amount of bite and heart then look no further.
And there is more…
For other reactions and reviews to Payback then check out the rest of the blog tour …