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Staincliffe, Cath - 'Bleed Like Me'
Paperback: 352 pages (Nov. 2013) Publisher: Corgi ISBN: 0552168726

BLEED LIKE ME is the second novelisation of the popular TV show Scott & Bailey. The first, DEAD TO ME, did a great job of capturing the flavour of the show: a mix of character-driven drama and police procedural in a run-down area of Manchester.

If I've got my chronology right, the action in BLEED LIKE ME takes place just after series one. DC Janet Scott (played by Lesley Sharp in the show) is recovering from a devastating knife attack by her old friend Geoff Hastings and fears her internal injuries are failing to heal. Her ambitious younger colleague and friend Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones) is getting over her relationship with barrister Nick Savage and suffering from the strain of keeping a lid on her troublesome family history. Their boss DCI Gill Murray (Amelia Bullmore) is trying for reconciliation with an errant son.

Their team is called to a murder scene in a failing pub on the Lark's Estate. Three bodies have been found: the landlord's wife, daughter and brother-in-law have been stabbed in their sleep. The landlord has disappeared with his two young sons.

The story follows the team over a tense five-day search for the landlord and his two sons. Is he intending to kill them too, or simply escape? Why did an apparently ordinary man suddenly snap and begin killing his family?

As in the show, there is very much a sense of the police as a force. The different specialist units - from SOCO to dog handlers - all play an important part in the hunt, lending the book a quasi-documentary flavour. However, the structure of the story also allows for some characteristic Scott & Bailey set-pieces: the impatient and headstrong Rachel Bailey goes rogue and gets herself into trouble, Janet Scott gets to do one of her high-stakes interrogations, and Gill Murray loses her temper.

That two children are in danger adds real emotional edge to BLEED LIKE ME, which is more than strong enough to appeal to readers who have never watched the show.

Rich Westwood, England
January 2014

Rich blogs at Past Offences.

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 11/01/2014 16:06