First Monday Crime Preview: Tightrope by Marnie Riches

Today it is my great pleasure to be sharing my thoughts on Tightrope, the brand new and very funny thriller from Marnie Riches. The book features origami addict Bev Saunders, an amateur Private Investigator with a very complicated personal life, and I am hoping this is just the first of many books from this series. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Amazon

About the Book

What happens when a private investigator ends up being the one uncovered?

Having lost everything after a failed marriage, Beverley Saunders now lodges in the basement flat of a house owned by her best friend Sophie and her husband, Tim. With Bev’s former glittering marketing career in the gutter, she begins to do investigative work for other wronged women, gathering dirt on philanderers, bosses and exes.

But when Beverley takes on the case of Sophie’s friend Angela, who is seeking to uncover grounds for divorce from her controlling husband, Jerry, the shadow Science Minister, she soon discovers that she isn’t the only one doing the investigating…

Beverley has a secret history she doesn’t want coming out – but will she manage to stay hidden long enough to give Angela the freedom she deserves?

Marnie Riches is back in this darkly comic thriller, perfect for fans of Martina Cole and Kimberley Chambers.

Available from: Amazon | Waterstones | Kobo | Google Play | Apple Books

My Thoughts

When I first heard about this book, I knew I really wanted to read it. I have loved the author’s other works, especially the George McKenzie books, so my expectations were high. High … but were they met?

Heck, yes. Tightrope is an absolutely cracking introduction to the relative train wreck that is Bev Saunders, a former Marketing Manager turned Private Investigator, whose private life plays out like something from the worst sitcom ever, but whose determination to help women expose their cheating and abusive husbands knows no end. She was a character I grew to like very quickly, straight talking, a walking disaster zone, living in her best friend Sophie’s, basement flat and going to regular counselling sessions to help deal with her origami addiction … amongst other slightly less family friendly pursuits. She is funny, down to earth and very easy to identify with. To a degree. I’ll let you read the book to discover why.

The story centres around Bev’s quest to help the wife of a prominent politician find the evidence she needs to safely leave him. He is abusive, controlling, and an all round creep and Bev see’s right through him. The question really is over how far Bev will go in her quest for evidence and the answer is pretty far. Far enough she gets into some pretty close scrapes, that’s for sure.

I love the way in which the author has built the characters in this book. You have all kinds of people represented here – from drug addled teenagers, to do-gooding friends, the down to earth Bev with her geek of a friend, Doc, and right through to the down right sleazy, underhand and dare I say deadly – all are well drawn and the author brings them all to live with full and sometimes frightening authenticity.

The story isn’t always easy to read. There are some very dark passages hidden amongst the humour and the madness that Bev gets caught up in. The opening itself is quite dark, although not gratuitously so, and there is an undercurrent of threat and unease from start to finish. Never quite dark enough to push you away from the book – there is a sense that the real bad guy is almost a caricature of himself at times, his bravado and attitude almost too intense – but it works perfectly against the true laugh out loud moments that permeate the story.

For an introduction to the characters of Bev and Doc, this book was a cracking opener and I have to be honest, if we’re going to get this mixture of humour and criminality, that touches on some very pertinent and topical subjects but in an accessible way – neither trivial or excessive – then I cannot wait to read more and I’m delighted another book is out early next year. Bev is great, and then there is Doc, her tech-geek counterpart, the nervous, lego addicted nerd you can’t help but love. They make for an unconventional investigative team, but it is perhaps that very fact that makes it work so well and that kept me entertained from start to finish. I read through this in a little over one evening and would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes their crime with humour and heart. Top stuff.

About the Author

Marnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in north Manchester. Exchanging the spires of nearby Strangeways prison for those of Cambridge University, she gained a Masters in German & Dutch. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist and professional fundraiser.

Her best-selling, award-winning George McKenzie crime thrillers, tackling the subject of trans-national trafficking, were inspired by her own time spent in The Netherlands. Dubbed the Martina Cole of the North, she is also the author of Born Bad and The Cover-Up – the critically acclaimed hit series about Manchester’s notorious gangland.

Tightrope is the start of a brand new series, set mainly in the famous footballer-belt of Hale, Cheshire, and introducing flawed but fearless northern PI, Bev Saunders who risks everything to fight the corner of her vulnerable client. A second Bev Saunders novel will follow in early 2020. So far, Marnie has sold an impressive 250,000 books and counting…

When she isn’t writing gritty, twisty crime-thrillers, Marnie also regularly appears on BBC Radio Manchester, commenting about social media trends and discussing the world of crime-fiction.

Author Links: Twitter | Website | Facebook

Marnie Riches will be appearing at First Monday Crime on Monday 7th October, at College Building, City University, London, alongside Peter Robinson, Nicci French and chaired by Claire McGowan. You can get your tickets at the First Monday Crime website here.

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.