Alex Cupidi lives in the atmospheric locale of Dungeness in Kent. She works for the Kent Serious Crime Directorate.
A single mother of a seventeen year old daughter, Zoë, Alex faces challenges in both her work and her home life. At work, she is constantly battling to do justice to her many cases while the police are serious short-staffed. She still feels as though she is an ‘outsider’, having transferred to Kent after a personal, very awkward relationship in London.
Whilst her daughter continues to be obsessed with wildlife preservation, and is emotionally distant, Alex continues to find some reprieve from her work stresses via her friendship with co-worker Jill Ferriter, and her neighbour William South, a former policeman whom she had arrested in a previous book.
This time out Alex is tasked with finding the identity of a body that was found in the freezer of a vacant home. Clearly the victim was murdered yet Alex has few leads as to might have murdered him.
During her investigations, Alex Cupidi encounters property developers, corrupt politicians, boarding school bullies, eco-warriors, and yes… badgers.
The case will become extremely personal for Alex when her daughter becomes involved and Alex’s own life is put in jeopardy.
The characters in William Shaw’s novels are always interesting and so fully developed that the reader comes to really care about them. They are flawed and only too human. I particularly enjoy crime fiction that delves into the personal lives of the crime fighters giving the reader a rounded view.
Another way that Shaw excels is in his plotting. Though his stories are usually quite intricate, he keeps them interesting and distinctive. This time he gives over a portion of his story to a badger sett, quite a memorable and truly unique experiment that worked surprisingly well.
The sense of place makes the reader immersed in the narrative as it is so well described. You can almost smell the marsh air… and the earthy musk of the badger’s sett.
Though advertised as the third in the Alexandra Cupidi crime series, for me this is number four. After reading “The Birdwatcher“, “Salt Lane“and “Deadland“, this is fast becoming one of my favourite police procedural series. Highly recommended!
As I was unable to procure an ARC of this novel via NetGalley or Edelweiss, and unable to purchase a Kindle copy of “Grave’s End” in Kindle format (I live in Canada) – I have to sincerely thank the author for providing me with a digital copy in order that I might pursue this excellent series. It is published by Riverrun, an imprint of Quercus.
from the author’s Goodreads bio:
William Shaw is the author of the Breen & Tozer series set in London in 1968-9 and has a new book in the series called “Sympathy for the Devil” which is soon to be published.
In 2016, he published a standalone called “The Birdwatcher” .
The non-fiction books he wrote include Westsiders , an account of several young would-be rappers struggling to establish themselves against a backdrop of poverty and violence in South Central Los Angeles, Superhero For Hire , a compilation and of the Small Ads columns he wrote for the Observer Magazine, and Spying In Guru Land , in which he joined several British religious cults to write about them.
William Shaw lives in Brighton, Sussex and plays music with Brighton Ceilidh Collective.
Follow William Shaw on Twitter.