There is nothing quite so satisfying to me as reading a British police procedural crime thriller. When it has an engaging protagonist, a Lake District setting, and a compelling and well rendered plot, then it is for me, reading bliss.
DI Kelly Porter grew up in the Lake District, though for the past decade she has policed in London, honing her trade – until a personal betrayal by a co-worker convinced her that it was time to ‘up-sticks’ and move back to her roots. We meet her as she is settling into her position as Detective Inspector for the Cumbria Constabulary. She is trying to make the most of this opportunity, make a good impression on her new team, and make a place for herself. Her personal situation is tenuous, as for the time-being she is back living with her widowed mother until she finds a place of her own. At thirty-six years of age, this is less than an ideal situation. Also, being the daughter of John Porter, a ‘legend on the force’ muddies her way further.
“Detective work was liable to put one off people generally; it was the nature of the job.”
I’m not going into detail of Kelly’s first cases on the Cumbrian force. Suffice it to say that her keen eye and thorough work ethic connects a five-year-old cold case with a current murder of a prominent businessman in a seedy hotel. To say more would ruin it for anyone who hasn’t read it yet. The characterization is skillfully done, making the police, the criminals, and the victims all very real. The story shows how even a place as idyllic and beautiful as the Lake District can have a sordid, and brutal underbelly that is thankfully seldom witnessed by the average resident or tourist. Part of the action takes place in hotels and guest houses in the quaint village of Ambleside.
I warn you that this novel is not without its seamy and graphically violent scenes. If you are put off by that type of thing, then steer clear. This is a crime novel with brutal crimes perpetrated upon innocent victims. The criminals put the ‘vile‘ in the word villains. Their scorn for the English justice system and way of life is evident as well.
The story of illegal immigrants and sex-trafficking is not a new one, but Rachel Lynch executes her story so well that this novel stands apart from novels using a similar premise. Also included are descriptions of the appalling and heinous deeds committed by some members of an organized crime syndicate.
A quality series debut like this one ensures that I will be avidly waiting for the next installment in the DI Kelly Porter series. A must-read for those who enjoy well-written, grittily realistic crime novels. Highly recommended!
I was happy to read that Canelo signed the first three books in the DI Kelly Porter series and Rachel is currently writing the fourth.
Rachel Lynch grew up in Cumbria and the lakes and fells are never far away from her. London pulled her away to teach History and marry an Army Officer, whom she followed around the globe for thirteen years.
A change of career after children led to personal training and sports therapy, but writing was always the overwhelming force driving the future. The human capacity for compassion as well as its descent into the brutal and murky world of crime are fundamental to her work.