An ex-soldier is mown down in a brutal hit and run. Was it an accident, or an act of murder?
DCI Jane Birchfield isn’t sure. She is struggling to stay focussed after a surprise marriage proposal, and is still waiting for news about a promotion. But she has to push it all to one side as the investigation swiftly escalates into the biggest challenge she has ever faced, bringing her into conflict with her superiors, her partner, and the British Army. She’s tested to the absolute limit, and for the very first time, finds herself asking whether it’s worth the sacrifice. Can she survive the pressure as the harsh reality of military conflict hits the streets of Ashbridge?
I have been a newspaper journalist, a postman, a public relations officer, a consultant, an actor, a director, a playwright. And I have always kept writing.
I always felt I could write a novel. And I did! The first book in my crime fiction series featuring DCI Jane Birchfield, Every Reason, came out in 2016. Whatever It Takes was published in 2021; and the third book (which follows on where Whatever It Takes ends) is nearing completion.
I’m from Manchester but now live on the Isle of Wight, where the sea is never far away. It’s the perfect place to be creative, and to walk the dogs.
Social Media Links
This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and I’ve already added the previous two in the series to my reading list.
The author wastes no time in kicking the story off with a bang as the first of several fatal hit-and-runs take place. The deceased is a decorated former soldier on his way home from a Friday night out at the pub. Was it an accident? That’s certainly how it’s viewed initially, until a second incident occurs involving another former soldier and one who served with the first victim. Members of DCI Jane Birchfield’s team are no longer convinced these are accidents.
The investigation gets going proper only after Jane can convince her new boss that it’s worth looking into. The two of them have history, and Jane feels she’s been sidelined for promotion when he is appointed in a role in which she had been acting chief for several months. Nonetheless, he’s happy for her to pursue her enquiries (only because he really has no clue how to run the investigation!) Fortunately, Jane can rely on her own small team who set to work.
Running alongside the plot are several personal stories that flesh out the characters and affect their approach to the job. Jane is super ambitious, feeling a little dejected right now, but determined to scale to greater heights. At home, her partner is considering selling his newspaper business so the two of them can spend more time together. An out-of-the-blue proposal muddies the waters further and put increased pressure on their relationship as they seem to diverge further apart with each passing day. Jane’s wine-gum loving DI is considering retirement, and Jane worries about losing him from the team and her life.
The killer is known by the reader early on, and some chapters are told from his POV. It’s interesting to see the detectives put the pieces together as they get closer to catching the murderer before another death occurs.
This was an excellent police procedural from start to finish, a perfect character-driven, exciting crime thriller. I’m looking forward to reading more about DCI Birchfield and her team.
For more news and reviews