Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Salt Lane by William Shaw

I am delighted to be today's stop on the blog tour for Salt Lane by William Shaw. Salt Lane is published by Riverrun Books on 3 May 2018.

Salt Lane
By William Shaw
Published by Riverrun Books (3 May 2018)
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher

Publisher’s description
DS Alexandra Cupidi has done it again. She should have learnt to keep her big mouth shut, after the scandal that sent her packing - resentful teenager in tow - from the London Met to the lonely Kent coastline. Murder is different here, among the fens and stark beaches.
The man drowned in the slurry pit had been herded there like an animal. He was North African, like many of the fruit pickers that work the fields. The more Cupidi discovers, the more she wants to ask - but these people are suspicious of questions.
It will take an understanding of this strange place - its old ways and new crimes - to uncover the dark conspiracy behind the murder. Cupidi is not afraid to travel that road. But she should be. She should, by now, have learnt.

My verdict
I raced through Salt Lane, from beginning to end. Yet again, as with The Birdwatcher, I was totally mesmerised by the quirky characters, chilling setting and emotional plot.

Everything about this book, and William Shaw's stunning writing, is excellent. The dialogue, in particular, is so realistic that it brings each character to life and drives the plot forward at a cracking pace. The setting is stark and desolate, yet the descriptions of the coastline, marshes and fens are so vivid, providing a strong sense of place and an air of mystery.

DS Alexandra Cupidi is investigating two deaths - one is a woman found floating in the water and the other is a migrant worker found floating in a slurry tank. A scandal back in London led Cupidi (and her teenage daughter, Zoe) to the bleak Kent coastline and she's still trying to fit in, remaining a little distant from her fellow police officers. But as the case continues, she's having to rely on them more and more - especially as she and her colleague Jill Ferriter put themselves into some very tricky (and potentially dangerous) situations.

William Shaw covers some dark topics and contemporary issues with a splash of humour and plenty of sensitivity. This character-driven crime novel follows on from The Birdwatcher (which was a standalone), but this is the start of a new series. I don't think there's a need to read The Birdwatcher first (other than to gain some background into Cupidi and her daughter).

I loved The Birdwatcher, but now love Salt Lane even more.

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