When I read Kick It Together, I was taken aback.
There's A Pot Of Christmas soup, all warm and cosy. Not only did I enjoy its telling, but I learned a neat trick with Foxes Glacier Mints that means I'll be able to put icicles on future Christmas cakes. It was really gentle and I got completely involved in ideas for next years dinner. 'Kick It' - I wondered about the title for such gently skilled story-telling. And then came the twist. The sting in the tale. 'Kick It' finally made sense.
Gemma Dixon, a woman working her way through the nettles of police-rankings, is a great character. The opener gives a hint and she appears in the remaining stories (bar one) where we get to know a little more about her style and her strength each time.
In between the Dixon tales we have a story of a disillusioned Support For Learning teacher. It's the job I do. Reading about it not only reflected many of my own fears, it also highlighted perfectly the difficulties of the job in a way that is far-too-rarely mentioned. And boy does this one wear steel toe caps.
Dixon is the kind of lady who'll be in a novel some day, you just watch - or at least I hope that's the case; she certainly deserves to have a longer work of her very own.
This is a wonderful collection and I'm off to take another kicking in the very near future.