I was so impressed with the impact of Northumberland author Mari Hannah's crime fiction debut The Murder Wall that it made the unusual leap of being a new author and character, in DCI Kate Daniels, that I wanted to read the second instalment of as soon as it became available.
This is usually a situation I find myself in with much longer established authors and crime series but, in this case, with Settled Blood, Hannah has found her stride very quickly indeed, cementing herself in a much deserved place amongst the best of the best in police procedural crime fiction.
There are a good many great female crime authors out there of course, but I still find it rare to discover a series character, particularly a cop, which really does the business - DCI Kate Daniels does just that, despite the author's best attempts to drag her through hell in sections of this latest offering.
There are sufficient pointers back to events in the previous novel - which will entice new readers to check out The Murder Wall without detracting from this new case, a dark and deadly tale which serves its victims well - something I've always thought many crime writers overlook. In fact it was the victim's viewpoints in Settled Blood that made me reflect on similar sections of entrapment in Jeffrey Deaver's superb The Bone Collector - no bad thing at all in that comparison. With a great surrounding cast of supporting characters, specifically her partner Hank Gormley - just the kind of sidekick you'd want in such situations, the mould is set for what I'm sure will be a great and long continuing series of novels - so, grab this and The Murder Wall and get in on the ground floor.
In DCI Kate Daniels, Mari Hannah has given the crime fiction world a Jane Tennison for the next generation. If you're looking for the best thing in new crime fiction, then Mari Hannah is the Prime Suspect.