Helen was one of the first crime authors I was in contact with before I even started blogging. She was one of the loveliest people I met in the book world. She supported everyone within the book community, from bloggers and reviewers to authors and publishers. I last saw her at the 2016 CrimeFest in Bristol, where she always had a smile on her face. Sadly, she passed away in June 2017.
Race to the Kill
By Helen Cadbury
Published by Allison & Busby (21 September 2017)
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher.
It is the middle of a long night shift for PC Sean Denton and his partner PC Gavin Wentworth when they are approached by a dishevelled-looking woman desperate that they follow her. She leads them to the old Chasebridge High School where they find the dead body of a Syrian refugee. The investigation which points to the neighbouring greyhound stadium finds Denton caught up in a world of immigration, drugs and sexual abuse, and one in which his private life becomes increasingly entwined.
I read the first book in Helen Cadbury's Sean Denton series (To Catch a Rabbit) a couple of years ago, when I first made contact with Helen. I immediately warmed to Sean Denton and Helen's Yorkshire setting. Like so many books, the next book in the series, Bones in the Nest, sat on my 'To Be Read' pile and I assured Helen so many times that I would 'get to it'. As soon as I was asked to take part in the blog tour for this third book, Race to the Kill, I took Bones in the Nest off my shelf and read it so that I was up to date.
As with the first two books, I loved Race to the Kill from the start. This is character-led crime fiction, mixing police procedural with believable characters. Sean has now worked his way up from PCSO to PC, not letting his dyslexia get in the way of his career progression. He is a very bright and determined character who will do everything he can to investigate a crime. This makes a change from most other police procedurals, which tend to focus on more senior officers. Sean has a complicated family life too, which ends up intertwined with his professional life in this book.
There are two parallel stories here. Firstly, that of a homeless man found beaten to death at an abandoned school. And secondly, that of a young woman, Sarah, who lives at the local greyhound course, next to the school. The story is told through three distinct voices - that of Sean, his half-sister Chloe and Sarah. There's clearly a link somewhere, and the clues gradually reveal themselves in a twisty gripping plot.
Race to the Kill is very much a crime novel of modern times, covering key social issues such as drug use, poverty, sexual abuse, homelessness and refugees. I was totally absorbed from beginning to end, and felt very sad when I reached the final pages, realising that this is the last Sean Denton book.
Helen Cadbury was a talented writer, a warm person and is sadly missed.
Follow the Blog Tour