Okay. Yes. I admit it – this is my first Geraldine Steel novel!!! But I can guarantee it won’t be my last. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the book with you all in just a moment, as soon as we’ve taken a look at what it is all about. Review spoiler alert … it’s bloody fabulous. (The book – not my review).
About the Book
With so many potential victims to choose from, there would be many deaths. He was spoiled for choice, really, but he was determined to take his time and select his targets carefully. Only by controlling his feelings could he maintain his success. He smiled to himself. If he was clever, he would never have to stop. And he was clever. He was very clever. Far too clever to be caught.
Geraldine Steel is back for her tenth case. Reunited in York with her former sergeant, Ian Peterson, she discovers that her tendency to bend the rules has consequences. The tables have turned, and now he’s the boss.
When two people are murdered, their only connection lies buried in the past. As police search for the elusive killer, another body is discovered. Pursuing her first investigation in York, Geraldine Steel struggles to solve the confusing case. How can she expose the killer, and rescue her shattered reputation, when all the witnesses are being murdered?
Yep. It’s another hang my head in shame moment. My first Geraldine Steel. What have I been thinking? In fairness, as introductions to the series go, this has been pretty blinking fantastic so I can’t complaint, and think of all the fun I can now have going back and catching up. That said, and for the benefit of others who, like me, may not have read the other books, there are some very key elements of this book which give a little away of what may have happened in the previous book, enough to not leave the reader hanging, but perhaps not so much that it can spoil enjoyment of the book should you go back and read it.
At the start of this book, Geraldine has just transferred to the Major Incident Team in York and now finds herself working back with her former Sergeant, Ian Peterson. Being new to the station Geraldine is finding it hard to get the measure of her co-workers, not helped by the fact she is thrown straight into the thick of a murder investigation, barely giving her time to catch her breath let alone unpack. With her personal life complicating her professional life, you’d think the case would be a welcome distraction but not necessarily. Disturbing in nature, the violent murder of a young woman has the whole team stumped with next to no forensics and a rapidly diminishing pool of suspects. When a second person is murder in an equally violent way, the team think they have a connection and yet they struggle to prove it. And for once Geraldine finds her instincts are not as readily trusted and getting her new peers and superiors on side is proving a very big challenge.
Despite knowing very little about the characters or the series, I found myself pulled into the story from the off and unable to back away until I had finished reading. It is an extremely compelling story, if somewhat disturbing in terms of the style of murder, and form the very beginning Leigh Russell sets out to give the reader a kind of insight as to the mind of the killer, if not a clue to their identity. it is clear from the very start what kind of person they are, and with chapters littered throughout told from their point of view, it makes for quite a chilling read at times. I loved it.
Geraldine is a character I immediately felt drawn to. True, in this story she has a lot on her mind and some of the confidence she may otherwise have shown has been worn away by her current circumstances. But she is a determined woman, if somewhat insecure throughout this book, and I couldn’t help but root for her from the start. It can be hard coming into a series so far through, but not here as author Leigh Russell has done a great job of scene setting without giving too much away. Geralidine has a kind of intuition and a bravado you cannot help but admire, jealousy of her peers, particularly of Naomi and her easy friendship with Peterson, especially as she is so uncertain of where they now stand both personally and professionally. Their’s is a partnership which is perhaps not fully explored in this book, a little stilted, reflective of the new status quo, but yo can tell that there is a still a spark there. I’m intrigued to see how this develops.
The story itself is both twisty and twisted, the motives of the killer well hidden until very near to the end, even though it is clear from the off that someone knows more than they are letting on. I love the way in which the intrigue and tension are built, the way in which the author takes you right to the very edge of your seat without quite letting you fall off, at least not until she gives that final twisted push at the end and all you think you know will happen is turned right on its head. The narrative flows so smoothly, the story is so absorbing, that you will easily lose hours of your life reading and not even notice or, dare I say it, care.
I’m completely annoyed with myself that I haven’t discovered the series sooner as I have totally been missing out. If you are already a fan of Geraldine Steel then you will absolutely love this addition to the series, marking the start of a whole new chapter in Geraldine’s life. if you are new to it all, jump on in and get started, you won’t regret it.
Now I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to the launch of Class Murder last week and it was a superb evening, brilliantly themed and my thanks to No Exit Press for the invite and for organising a fabulous night.
You can pick you your own copy of Class Murder from the following retailers:
About the Author
Leigh Russell is the author of the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series: Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi and Class Murder. The series has sold over a million copies worldwide. Cut Short was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA) John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes with Stop Dead and Murder Ring selected as finalists for The People’s Book Prize. Leigh is chair of the CWA’s Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal Literary Fellow. Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a granddaughter, and lives in London.
(Image courtesy No Exit Press)
Now for anyone lucky enough to be in the area on Monday 9th April, Leigh Russell will be appearing at First Monday Crime at London’s City University. First Monday Crime is a monthly gathering for authors, publicists, agents, editors, students, and avid readers of crime fiction. Each month a new panel of authors is lined up to discuss writing, the world of crime, and their latest novels. This month the panel’s line up consists of Leigh Russell, Stuart Turton (The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle), John Connolly (The Woman in the Woods) and Rachel Abbott (Come a Little Closer), all overseen by the expert moderation of Barry Forshaw. You can find out more about First Monday Crime and book your place at the panel here.