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Quigley, Sheila - 'Every Breath You Take'
Paperback: 512 pages (Dec. 2007) Publisher: Arrow ISBN: 0099490897

This is Sheila's fourth book, featuring Lorraine Hunt, a Detective Inspector in Houghton Le Spring. County Durham. The story centres around a murderer who attacks women, kills them by puncturing their hearts, and then finishes by removing their heart and replacing it with a white rose. The book begins with the description of one of these murders, which takes place in Dublin. It follows with DI Hunt and Detective Sergeant Luke Daniels' trip to Dublin for Luke to collect his daughter Selina. Lorraine and Luke have recently begun to go out together, and Lorraine is going along with Luke for moral support. Luke has only recently discovered he has a teenage daughter, after her mother, a drug addict, died and he is trying to find his way as a new parent. After a disagreement over a boyfriend called Mickey, Selina ran off to Dublin and was picked up by the local police after being found in the street in the early hours of the morning. In Dublin, at the station, Lorraine and Luke meet Inspector Wade, who claims to have gone to school with Lorraine in Houghton Le Spring. After picking Selina up, Luke decides it's best to cool it for a while with Lorraine, and concentrate on trying to be a good parent for Selina, and Lorraine reluctantly agrees. The story then moves back to Houghton Le Spring. Luke focuses on Selina, while Wade turns up in Houghton Le Spring to see relatives, and asks Lorraine out to dinner. Meanwhile, a newspaper reporter (Kate Mulberry) has persuaded Lorraine's boss to let her shadow Lorraine and her team to she can write an article on real police work for the local newspaper. A cat is found with is heart cut out, and Selina receives a letter that is just an envelope full of white rose petals. Is she under threat, and by whom? Is it someone who knew her from her old days with her mother, or someone else? Then Selina goes out to a nightclub with Mickey, and they get separated after leaving the club when a fire alarm goes off. Selina is later found beaten up behind the club, and a single white rose is found. Did Selina have a lucky escape from the murderer? A search of the police database reveals the murders in Dublin involving the white rose, carefully kept out of the media. Then a body turns up in Houghton Le Spring with the same modus operandi as the murders in Dublin. Does Louise have a serial murderer on her hands? Why have they come to Houghton Le Spring? Or is it a copycat killing by someone in the force, who has read about the murders in Dublin? Lorraine eventually goes on to solve the mystery and find the murderer, but not before more murders take place.

I enjoyed the book, even though the identity of the murderer was fairly obvious early on. The development of the relationship between Luke and Selina is described well, as they begin to trust each other, and Lorraine Hunt is a likeable, level headed character. However, I didn't think it was necessary for her to say 'yer' instead of you, to emphasise her northern roots. There are brief asides to the murderer, describing his thoughts and feelings, to help move the story along, but irritatingly these tend to end with a triumphal 'Ha', as he talks about his exploits. "Didn't even know I was behind you all the way home, did you. Ha". The back story of Mickey, his deprived background, his relationship with Selina, and the apparent threat from her past help to move the plot along. However, the way in which Lorraine finally works out the identity of the murderer, and then goes to their house, without telling anyone else where she is going, or getting back-up is rather tenuous. EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE contains some good description and character development, but in the end the plot was a bit too obvious for me.

Michelle Peckham, England
October 2008

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 5/10/2008 19:11