Slowly but surely, Leigh Russell has been building a reputation as a solid practitioners of modern crime fiction, and Dead End is a worthy addition to her CV. The body of headmistress Abigail Kirby is found by the police; her tongue has been cut out as she lay dying. Leigh Russell’s copper, D. I. Geraldine Street, realises she is up against an unpleasant nemesis when a witness is blinded and then killed. But Geraldine has other problems on her plate apart from the violence erupting around her; her daughter has left home to meet a girl she had made friends with online — and this action may well have grim implications. At the same time, D. S. Ian Peterson is drawing closer to the serial killer, and both coppers are in for an encounter that will take them into the darkest recesses of the human psyche. Steele and Peterson are a strikingly realised duo in a field which is overcrowded with such teams, but Russell has the smarts to render her protagonists in such a way that we’re not reminded of her many rivals. At nearly 400 pages, this is one of the longest of the author’s books, but crime fiction admirers will find that those pages turn very swiftly.

Dead End by Leigh Russell is published in May by No Exit Press

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