Title: Critical Incidents
Author: Lucie Whitehouse
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Detective Inspector Robin Lyons is going home.
Dismissed for misconduct from the Met’s Homicide Command after refusing to follow orders, unable to pay her bills (or hold down a relationship), she has no choice but to take her teenage daughter Lennie and move back in with her parents in the city she thought she’d escaped forever at 18.
In Birmingham, sharing a bunkbed with Lennie and navigating the stormy relationship with her mother, Robin works as a benefit-fraud investigator – to the delight of those wanting to see her cut down to size.
Only Corinna, her best friend of 20 years, seems happy to have Robin back. But when Corinna’s family is engulfed by violence and her missing husband becomes a murder suspect, Robin can’t bear to stand idly by as the police investigate. Can she trust them to find the truth of what happened? And why does it bother her so much that the officer in charge is her ex-boyfriend – the love of her teenage life?
As Robin launches her own unofficial investigation and realises there may be a link to the disappearance of a young woman, she starts to wonder how well we can really know the people we love – and how far any of us will go to protect our own.
This is a powerhouse of a novel!
It took me a little while to get into, due to what felt like a lot of character names to get to grips with, but once I did I was completely hooked!
DI Robin Lyons is a brilliant character who I really warmed to. She makes mistakes and has flaws, which makes her so much more human and personable. She also stands up for what she believes in – to start with, she’s been suspended from the Met for refusing to follow orders from her boss because she was convinced that they’d be going after the wrong man. She ends up working with her mother’s friend, who is a private investigator, to make ends meet when she has to move away from London back to her childhood city of Birmingham. The contrast between her previous life and her new one is interesting to read about too.
Critical Incidents has several paralell storylines, all of which are really interesting, but particularly the one most close to Robin’s heart – what really happened to her best friend Corinna, and her missing husband. It’s quite a complex plot, in that there’s a lot going on, but it really works.
I really enjoy police procedurals, but because Robin is no longer with the police we get to see a fresh take on a police procedural. This is because Robin may know how things are done in the Met, but she has to find workarounds in her new investigative role as she can’t rely on the access she used to have as a DI. She also doesn’t have the same automatic level of authority, so it’s interesting to read how she tries to overcome that as she works with Maggie to try and solve various cases.
I loved this novel and, from that ending, I’m really hoping it’s the start of a brilliant new series!
Many thanks to Fourth Estate for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.
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