Shallow Waters by Rebecca Bradley

BradleyShallowWatersWhere I Got It: Own it

Publisher: Rebecca Bradley (2014)

Length: 372 pages

Series: Book 1 DI Hannah Robbins

Author’s Page

This British police procedural is set in in the Major Crimes Unit of Nottingham City. Detective Inspector (DI) Hannah Robbins catches the latest case which involves the body of an unidentified teen. As the team scrambles to identify the girl, another body turns up showing signs of the same MO. Hoping to catch the killer quickly, they uncover more than they ever expected.

This is was a little gem that I picked up on the random. I was swept up in the cold, dank twilight of Nottingham City as Hannah Robbins arrived on scene. Right away, the mystery starts. There’s a handful of clues and a lot of nothing as the body was dumped in a busy dirty alley. There’s no witnesses and no camera footage of the area. Hannah and her team have an uphill battle with this one! And then another body appears, with the same difficulties in identification.

The characters were all very interesting as they walk onto the page fully formed. They have back stories, families, friends, grievances, joys, histories. Hannah has a personal relationship with Ethan, a news reporter. Obviously, this has the potential for trouble. As Hannah gets further and further into this investigation, she desperately needs someone to talk to, to unwind with. Yet Ethan might not be the best person for that, considering his work. Evie is Hannah’s best friend and also works as a database researcher for the team. Jack is the local mortician.

Meanwhile, Hannah must push her team to their max even as her own bosses bear down upon her. Pretty soon this investigation is crossing county borders, so Hannah and her crew must play nice with other investigation units. But will they play nice with her team? Agh! So many pitfalls for Hannah to wind through. The stresses keep piling on.

Then there is Sally. Now Sally works for Hannah and is typically a go-getter, being the first to volunteer for  any task. Hannah has come to rely upon Sally’s enthusiasm for the job. But lately there is something bothering Sally and she has become a bit secretive. Throughout the story, Hannah tries to coax out of Sally whatever is bothering her, but to no avail. Meanwhile, us readers get to peer into Sally’s head and we know what’s bugging her. I so wanted to help Hannah out on this one as it would be a simple thing, compared to all the rest.

This book definitely had a twist, a very big one, that I did not see coming. It was well done. At roughly the halfway mark in the book, the team believe they know who the killer is. Now since I was only half-way through the book, I wasn’t too sure. Indeed! The author had plenty more up her sleeve. The plot definitely thickens.

Now my one little criticism is that on occasion the sentence structure gets a little clunky, like the author was truly writing a police report that had better pass muster with her supervisors. Most of the time, this was tame enough to add to the ambiance and reality of the story. A few times it strayed too far into the proper technical way to write up such things and I would have to read the sentence twice to get the full meaning.

This book deals with a tough subject, the abuse and killing of teens along with child pornography. The story deals with it well giving the reader the over all horror of the situation but not delving into the details. The scenes where Hannah and her team have to sit through a perp justifying his deeds, waiting for him to drop the ball, all the while keeping a stony face were very well written. Their inner turmoil over the case is evident but in check as they need to be in control to close the case.

The ending had the right amount of drama. I felt that all the loose ends were tied up nicely. Also, not everyone gets out unscathed and this added to the weight of the book. I definitely look forward to more works from this author, especially more in the DI Hannah Robbins series.

What I Liked: Well laid out police procedural; Hannah Robbins is so human and so good at what she does; the twist midway through the book; dealt with a difficult subject well; good solid ending; not everyone gets out unscathed.

What I Disliked: Occasionally, the sentence structure gets a little clunky.

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