Race To The Kill by Helen Cadbury
It is the middle of a long night shift for PC Sean Denton and his partner PC Gavin Wentworth when they are approached by a dishevelled-looking woman desperate that they follow her. She leads them to the old Chasebridge High School where they find the dead body of a Syrian refugee. The investigation which points to the neighbouring greyhound stadium finds Denton caught up in a world of immigration, drugs and sexual abuse, and one in which his private life becomes increasingly entwined.
I am honoured to be part of this blog tour, in tribute to an author that has touched so many lives. I truly hope my review does the novel justice and inspires readers to check out the series.
The prologue opens with a female victim, but we are unclear on what is happening to her, only that she is in great fear and wants to be rescued. I love these eerie prologues, that set the pace of a novel and this one, is perfectly done. Vague and mysterious, yet intentionally done. PC Sean Denton and PC Gav Wentworth, on a routine stop for fuel. When they are met with a rather strange woman in the petrol station. She desperately tries to accosts them for help, but she is vague and has the appearance of a homeless person. When she grabs onto Sean, he starts to take her seriously and agrees to follow her, with Gav following closely by in the police car. They follow her to a boarded up old school, used locally as a squat. On their way there the woman (Mary) is spooked by dog and flees. Sean and Gaz decide to investigate further regardless. What they find is a dead body and a prime suspect……..
The body appears to have taken a violent beating to the head, but the team await crime scene manager Lizzie Morrison (Sean’s girlfriend) to confirm their suspicions. Whilst searching the upper areas of the school they discover Elyas Homsi a Syrian refugee. He claims the murder victim to be Abbas, his friend from northern Iraq. The squat has been used locally for junkie and immigrants as a shelter.
A scene is described and the coppers question, what a place this is to live or die?
Upon leaving the crime scene, Sean spots an ambulance outside his own father’s flat. This is where we start to learn more about Sean’s background. Including his upbringing and relationship with his father and half-sister Chloe. We also learn that Sean has applied and interviewed for a promotion. Beginning his CID traineeship during the novel.
PC Sean Denton is now DC Sean Denton and he is about to be part of a huge case……..
The case of the dead refugee is side-lined, when a rapist on bail absconds his bail conditions. But is he missing or has he run? Xavier Velasquez has spent four months on remand for a rape, he claims he never committed. When the rape victim fails to appear at court, he is granted bail. The police politics, of how a refugee’s murder is side-lined, for the rapist son of a ‘well to do’ family, is explored! I found this to be very accurate, often times we see cases in the media dubbed as ‘high profile’. But what makes one victim more/less deserving than the other.
I felt this was a clever subject thrown into a novel, packed with diverse characters.
Throughout the chapters of investigation, we are introduced to a character named Sarah. Sarah is a schemer and always seems to be manipulating those around her. I initially didn’t like her, yet I was dying to know why, she is like she is and what she hopes to achieve. One thing is for certain, she is character you want to keep a close eye on! The investigation intensifies and further locations, characters and cases are drawn into this clever novel.
The novel is so cleverly weaved together. All the characters have exceptional depth. Especially the central characters to the case. DC Sean Denton works well as a detective and his ambition and drive is shown through his work ethic. This novel has layer upon layer of twists and turns, it makes a cracking crime fiction read.
I read the entire novel, on one rainy Sunday afternoon. 4.5*
*****As the author has sadly passed away, before release of the latest novel in her crime fiction series. I will be donating to the friends of Helen Cadbury charity. which hopes to raise enough funds, for a poetry bench in Helen’s memory in Glen gardens. I think this is such a worthy cause, for such an incredibly talented woman.*****
Link to the Facebook page Friends of Helen Cadbury: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1962289124050441/