Author: Leigh Russell
Publisher: No Exit Press
Publication Date: 11th December 2015
Source: Review Copy
Hearing footsteps pounding along the street behind him he glanced back, fleetingly worried, then laughed because the street was deserted. All the same, he felt uneasy. Everything looked different in the dark. Then he heard more footsteps approaching, and a hoarse voice called out. Turning his head, he made out a figure hovering in the shadows and as it raised one arm, the barrel of a gun glinted in the moonlight… The dead body of unassuming David Lester is discovered in a dark side-street, and DI Geraldine Steel is plunged into another murder investigation. The clues mount up along with the suspects, but with the death of another man in inexplicable circumstances, the case becomes increasingly complex. As Geraldine investigates the seemingly unrelated crimes, she makes a shocking discovery about her birth mother.
I read my first Leigh Russell book, Race to Death, back in October 2014 and until I picked up Murder Ring, I hadn't read another one since. Due to review copies and a staggeringly large TBR, I just haven't had the chance and so I couldn't resist the opportunity to take part in the blog tour for Murder Ring. It is the eighth book in the DI Geraldine Steel series, but I think it's important for an author to make sure that each book is readable by someone who hasn't previously read the series and whilst parts of the story are of course continued from events earlier in the series, the book can be read and enjoyed by people who are just jumping into the series and meeting Geraldine Steel for the first time.
I already knew I was a fan of Leigh's writing after enjoying Race to Death and so it wasn't long before I was engrossed in the case that she has come up with here in Murder Ring. The body of a seemingly normal man is discovered in a dark-side street, and DI Geraldine Steel is soon facing another murder investigation. The clues build up as fast as the suspects, but the case soon becomes much more complex with the death of another man and things take an even more sinister turn when Steel makes a shocking discovery about her birth mother in connection with the investigation. I very quickly got a real sense of the type of detective that Geraldine Steel is and what I particularly enjoyed was she didn't feel like a rehash of any other detective that I've read about. Similarities yes, but her backstory and the way she conducts herself makes her a fascinating character to read about and I am already excited about hopefully reading about her again by picking up some of the earlier books in the series. In all the crime series that I read, I enjoy the personal life aspect of things just as much as the actual policing because it gives you a greater understanding of the characters, and allows you to connect with and understand them more.
I often refer to the 'politics' of crime fiction and to me that's usually when the boss of a particular detective wants the case solved yesterday in order to look good. In Murder Ring there's a new DCI for Geraldine to contend with and at times it was as frustrating for the reader as it was for Geraldine to cope with this intrusion. As is often the case, these superiors expect results in a stupid amount of time and it always means there's bound to be some embarrassing mistakes made. The case moves along much like it would in a TV drama, you know that for the first half of the story at least, everything is going to remain a mystery and most of the clues and suspects found will come to nothing. But, as things then progress you really start to question everyone and everything as that denouement draws near. Because of how this case affects Geraldine personally, I did wish I knew more than what is relayed here about her past. I do enjoy it (if that's the right word) when a case is somehow connected to the investigating officer because I think it produce more of a reaction from me, as it did here. All in all a highly enjoyable read from an author I wish I had discovered much, much sooner than I did!