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Kitson, Bill - 'Minds that Hate'
Hardback: 224 pages (May 2010) Publisher: Robert Hale Ltd ISBN: 0709090498

MINDS THAT HATE is the third book from Bill Kitson in his Detective Inspector Mike Nash series. Everyone knew Gary Vickers was guilty there was overwhelming evidence that he'd raped and murdered his girlfriend Gemma Fletcher's daughter and now he is due to be released from prison. It falls to Mike Nash to persuade Gary not to return to Helmsdale and when he doesn't succeed, he is responsible for his protection. Since Gemma's brothers are Jake and Ronnie, the local hardmen, Nash knows he has big trouble on his hands.

Nash unfortunately has other pressing cases: the brutal murder of a migrant worker and the torching of an immigrant family's shop and Carl Rathmell MEP and local councillor Appleyard seemly intent on fanning the flames of racial hatred. The Fletcher brothers meanwhile are working with Rathmell to stir up trouble using Danny and the Juniors (a group of local yobs) along with Danny's arsonist brother Billy. All of the trouble being a distraction for the police so that the Fletchers can get to Vickers.

Nash of course has a love interest in the form of a mystery woman whose name he can't remember, much to DS Clara Mironova's amusement. As Nash looks into Vickers claims that he didn't kill Stacey Fletcher, Nash realises that the evidence isn't as solid as first thought.

Meanwhile local journalist Tucker is busy trying to get the story behind the Vickers case and what will the Fletchers do when Vickers is released. When he comes across the meetings between Rathmell, Appleyard, the Fletchers and a mystery visitor, he realises that a big story is unfolding. When Tucker disappears, Becky Pollard (the granddaughter of the paper's owner) wants to get involved. Whilst Nash is attracted to Becky, he is warned off by GOD (Gloria O'Donnell the Chief Constable who is Becky's godmother) who is well aware of Nash's reputation with women. Nash is trying to get over the death of his long term girlfriend who died in the first book and Becky wants to be sure she is the right one for him.

Cost savings are being made by reducing the support to the police at Helmsdale. Nash is therefore on his own trying to solve the murders, dealing with the racial tension and protecting Vickers. As he only has Clara and DC Viv Pearce to help him, he knows life is going to be difficult.

Bill Kitson has produced yet another great book and has developed his characters well from the first of his books I read, DEPTH OF DESPAIR. In Nash we have a somewhat flawed, woman-obsessed, Inspector ably supported by DS Clara Mironova and DC Viv Pearce. The book shows what work as a serving police officer is like with budget constraints and conflicting work priorities. The pace of the book keeps the reader's interest until the unexpected conclusion.

Paul Blackburn, Scotland
November 2010

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 5/11/2010 20:05