Russell, Leigh - 'Cold Sacrifice'
COLD SACRIFICE is the first book in a new series by Leigh Russell. It features DS Ian Peterson, who was Geraldine Steel's very capable side-kick in Russell's other, very popular, series about her feisty female detective. Geraldine has recently moved to London, leaving Ian in Kent with a new boss. It is rather nice to see this equally likeable character having his own book series and to have the opportunity to get to know him a bit better. Russell is turning into a book-producing phenomenon; with the publication of this book she has shown that she can turn out two good quality books a year and still has loads of ideas for writing more. Amazing!
In this book, Ian and his colleagues find themselves in hot water when three murders take place in the space of just a few weeks. It seems as if they could be connected but there isn't any real evidence to suggest that this is really the case. The first body, a middle-aged woman, was found on a park bench and had been stabbed, while the second and third are prostitutes who are flat-mates. The connections between them are tenuous and the prime suspect, the husband of the first victim, swears he is innocent.
Determined to discover the truth, Ian will not let things slide. His work is made harder by the bad attitude of his demanding wife, who expects him to pander to her every whim and hates his long hours – despite having lived with him for a while before their recent marriage. Ian is far from his usual happy self but soldiers on and you, the reader, are most definitely on his side.
If you like your crime fiction to be a fairly quick, but well-written, read and don't want to have it mess with your head too much then this series is for you. I like Leigh Russell's books and find her character development to be one of the things I enjoy most. Personally, I would have liked to have seen more of a focus on the strange cult that appears part-way through this book, and the reason why it has such a strong hold over one of the characters, as this is one of the more interesting parts of the novel. That said, however, I thoroughly enjoyed Russell's first attempt at branching out, away from Geraldine Steel, and am looking forward to reading more from this talented author.
Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland