Back over to Mandie today with a review of Guide Star by Joy Ellis. Before we get to that, here are the booky bits:
The Official Book Blurb
Stella won’t give up, but she doesn’t know how to go on.
Stella North, a rising star in the police, has her life torn apart by a gunman’s bullets. She has often faced danger, but these injuries mean she must give up the job she loves. Her grandmother Beth is her rock. And Beth is no ordinary woman. At seventy, she runs marathons and has a past that Stella knows very little about.
Beth calls in her friend Michael to help with Stella’s recovery. But this man means a lot more to Beth than she reveals. And Stella’s ex-husband Edward and old police partner Robbie want to help, but Stella puts up emotional barriers, and they have problems of their own. Her old friends from her days of Urbex (exploring old abandoned buildings) offer a glimmer of hope for the future.
Will Stella find the strength to overcome the challenges of her new life, and will her grandmother at last resolve the deep emotional turmoil of her past?
Guide Star is a bit of a departure from the usual books that Joy Ellis writes. This time rather than focusing on crime she focuses on the aftermath of a crime and what happens to the victims and their friends and family as they all come to terms with what has happened.
In Guide Star you meet Stella North a policewoman who is recovering from an off duty shooting that basically meant she had to totally re-evaluate her life and her career. Due to the injuries she sustained she is no longer able to remain in the police force as she now has trouble remembering things and suffering from severe mood swings. After her release from hospital she moves in with her grandmother but she also has a lot of support from her ex-husband and his new wife.
What I loved about this book is the fact that although the story is essentially about Stella and how she deals with all that has happened to her, you also get to see the effects it has had on all those around her.
Her grandmother Beth has remained very determined that Stella will get better and pushes her through her rehabilitation. When it seems that the mood swings are getting the better of her granddaughter she even contacts a man from her past who she knows has the ability to help even if it means dragging up painful memories that she had tried to put behind her.
Her ex-husband Ed and his wife Lexi have been a big support through it all; however Ed is hiding health issues of his own that are threating his marriage. With everything going on he doesn’t want to burden anyone with his problems but those around him won’t let it rest until they know what is going on.
There is her ex- partner in the force Robbie who has been basically left to drift in his career. He feels that neither he nor Stella is given any support from their superiors and he is in danger of ruining his career. He comes across as quite a sensitive character that misses having someone to work with. Quite often in books when an officer is injured they are always the focus of everything and the partners they leave behind just seem to carry on as if nothing happens. Joy Ellis has decided to take a different route by showing that they can be just as deeply affected by what has happened and can also sometimes suffer from a form of PTSD.
During the course of her therapy she makes contact with friends from the past and re discovered her love of photography.
There is also a nod to Joy’s latest books when Stella contacts DS Marie Evans in the hope of helping Robbie and preventing him from destroying his career.
Guide Star is a great story about how despite life changing events there is always the possibility to go on and make a new life if you take the chances available. It may not be a fast paced book but it is packed with characters that you want to get to know and become invested in. This is a good stand-alone story by Joy Ellis and you don’t need to have read any of her other books to enjoy this one.
My thanks to publishers Joffe Books for the advance copy of Guide Star for review. The book was published on 23rd April and is available from the following retailers: