Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Living on a Prayer by Sheila Quigley

A week before Christmas Debbie Stansfield's life falls apart. Her son - her funny, cheeky, kind Richard - has been found hanging from a tree at the Seven Sisters. The police think it's suicide but Debbie won't - can't - accept it. Her son would never kill himself. Not her Richard. No way.
Richard's four friends know something about his death. Detective Inspector Lorraine Hunt can feel it. The teenagers are clearly terrified about something - something that scares them more than the police. But they're not about to tell…

As the days tick down to Christmas, Lorraine, increasingly overworked and under pressure, can't ignore her suspicions that there's more to Richard's death than meets the eye. And when Richard's friends start going missing, her worst fears are confirmed. Just who is preying on the young people in Houghton-le-Spring? And will Lorraine be able to stop them, before another vulnerable teenager is found dead?

Sheila Quigley is on top form with her third novel Living on a Prayer. She paints a darker picture than we have seen in her previous novels. This novel tells the tale of how some of the most vulnerable in society are at the most risk of the predators in society and how this can have deadly consequences. However, despite this we also have some humorous playful moments courtesy of Jacko and his friends on their dashes across the channel to get duty free goods.

Quigley juggles a number of plot lines here and it is clear that as the series progresses we will see these characters fleshed out still further. We see more development on Lorraine and Luke's relationship.  Luke has a personal crisis which comes out of the blue and which threatens not only his relationship with Lorraine but also his job.

In another gripping page turner Sheila Quigley is doing what she does best; creating believable three dimensional characters. This is perhaps her most involved and complex novel so far in the series yet she still delivers the aspects I enjoy the most. Interesting interplay between characters I am growing increasingly fond of as the Seahills books progress.

One of the things I’ve always liked about Sheila Quigley’s writing is that she has the common touch. Her stories are not set in drafty old manor houses with suspicious butlers. They are set in believable everyday settings with characters that we can all relate to.

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