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Bale, Tom - 'Skin and Bones'
Hardback: 432 pages (Jan. 2009) Publisher: Preface Publishing ISBN: 1848090714

SKIN AND BONES is the first book by David Harrison under the name Tom Bale and is set in rural Sussex.

Julia Trent is visiting her parents' house in the village of Chilton in Sussex to clear the property following their recent deaths when she comes across bodies in the streets of the village. When the gunman tries to catch her, she tries to escape, helped when Phillip Walker (local campaigner against a development) intervenes. Julia is able to hide in a tree and although badly wounded, witnesses a second gunman shooting the man who had been trying to kill her. The high death toll in the village ensures that the shootings are given a high profile by the police and the media.

Following a lengthy stay in hospital, Julia finds that no-one believes her story about the second gunman. All, that is, except Craig Walker (the journalist son of Phillip Walker) who wants to get to the bottom of who murdered his father (believing local businessman George Matheson was involved).

As they start to investigate the shootings, they find that they have plenty of suspects: George Matheson and his dying wife Vanessa (who are behind the major development that Phillip Walker opposed), Vilner (a man who uses violence when he needs to), Toby (Vanessa's nephew who is involved with George in the development, but owes a large gambling debt to Vilner) and finally Kendricks (a gangster from the Caribbean who wants his share of the proceeds from the development).

When people associated with the shootings start to die, Julia and Craig need to find answers quickly. They seem to be being followed - but by whom? (The list of suspects doesn’t seem to be getting any shorter.) As the story progresses, the pace speeds up until the very bloody climax, with a surprising person being identified as the second gunman.

A great first crime novel from Tom Bale and I wonder where his next storyline will take him.

Paul Blackburn, Scotland
July 2009

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 8/08/2010 13:29