No Escape by Casey Kelleher

Today it is my pleasure to be joining the blog tour for No Escape, the new thriller from Casey Kelleher. My thanks to publisher Bookouture for providing the early review copy and for inviting me to join the tour. Here’s what the book is about:

Source: Netgalley

About the Book

The one place she never wanted to go back to. The one place she can’t escape.

When she was just five years old, Lucy Murphy witnessed her mother’s brutal murder in their home on London’s notorious Griffin Estate. The case was never solved. Now a newly qualified police officer, Lucy has been given her first job: she’s going back to the Griffin Estate.

She is there to protect the estate’s vulnerable residents, including Shannon and Kian Winters, two kids struggling to deal with their alcoholic mother. Fifteen-year-old Shannon is working every spare hour to keep a roof over their heads, but thirteen-year-old Kian has fallen under the sway of gang leader Jax Priestly. And now Jax has plans for Shannon too…

As Lucy gets to know Kian and Shannon she becomes determined not to let the two teenagers become Jax’s victims. But time is running out. Jax is out of control, and the gang’s violent reprisals are escalating. Can Lucy face down her own demons in time to prevent a tragedy? As a child, she already witnessed the murder of one innocent person. It will take all her courage and training to stop another.

A shocking, fast-paced read that will keep you gripped from beginning to end. Fans of Kimberley Chambers and Martina Cole won’t be able to put this down.

Available from: Amazon

My Thoughts

No Escape is a book which is all too believable and very topical, based around a troubled estate in central London, in which gang culture dominates and communities are forced into silence through fear of repercussions. Lucy Murphy may be new to her role as a police Detective, but she is no stranger to the Griffin Estate or to the dark history that has taken place behind many a door. From Lucy’s devastating and hard hitting story, through to the ‘challenges’ faced the estate’s current residents, Casey Kelleher has created a story that is full of tension, that kept me glued to the page from start to finish.

This is a very character driven story, with the action centering around two teenagers, Shannon and Kian, an autistic man, Philip, and leader of the Griffin Boys, Jax. Each of their stories are grim and twisted, each unique and, in the case of Shannon, Kian and Philip, influenced by events out of their control. Shannon and Kian have an alcoholic mother and are neglected as a result. Shannon tries to do her best by Kian but she is only a child herself. the fact that Kian then turns to the Griffin Boys as a kind of protection and the chance to prove himself as a real man is a story that is all too realistic, and all too common when it comes to the disenfranchised and forgotten youth that inhabit many of these deprived estates. The way in which Jax manipulates Kian, sucks him in and traps him in a lifestyle from which there is no easy escape, is written perfectly and whilst we can see where. this story is leading, can almost predict Jax’s behaviour, it is easy to see how Kian is blindsided, the promise and lure of an easy and more affluent, although illegal life, hard to ignore.

When it comes to Philip, his is an altogether different story. Whilst Kian is ultimately a victim of his own making, Jax preying on his need to belong to something akin to a family, Philip is victim of circumstance. A vulnerable adult who Jax is quick to take advantage of. I felt a real sympathy for Philip, could see how he was let down by the people who were meant to support and protect him, although even I didn’t see the one element of his story coming. He suffers no end of abuse at the hands of the Griffin Boys, and it is hard to read without feeling outraged on his behalf. It leads readers to an almost inevitable conclusion, one that will shock but ultimately satisfy.

Lucy is an intriguing character. There is no doubt she is shaped by her past and with a very challenging family life, trying to maintain a home for her Grandmother who is slowly falling victim to dementia, the pressure is on. I really liked the way in which the author portrayed her fear, her tension as she found herself time and again on the estate, trying to stave off memories of her past whilst focusing on helping the residents and trying to get to the bottom of a serious assault that happens before we join the story. She is a determined and spirited young woman, very much empathetic towards those around her, but she is very likeable. She has a good sense of humour which stands her in good stead given that she is faced with a certain amount of inappropriate banter from colleagues. But it is her very down to earth nature that makes her a joy to read about, her desire to understand the residents of the estate rather than just dismiss them as trouble, that draws the reader on side.

The book has a real urban edge to it, the whole notion of the ‘county lines’ culture – using teenagers and children to run drugs in order to avert suspicion – something which is more and more prevalent in society and makes it feel very relevant. It is edgy and full of tension, the pacing waxing and waning as the story dictates, but all leading to a catastrophic and violent conclusion – at least for one of the residents. Yet despite the desperate situation for so many, the darker aspects of the story that can dominate, there is still a sense of hope and some emotional scenes that will warm your heart. All in all, another cracking read from an author whose work I really enjoy.

About the Author

Born in Cuckfield, West Sussex, Casey Kelleher grew up as an avid reader.

Whilst working as a beauty therapist and bringing up her three children together with her husband, Casey penned her debut novel Rotten to the Core. Its success meant that she could give up her day job and concentrate on writing full time.

Author Links: Twitter | Website

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