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on 14 August 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this pacey, well-plotted crime thriller. It is the third in Hudson's series "Degrees of Separation" and features the magnificently feisty newspaper reporter Angela Tate, who appeared in "The Loyal Servant", the first in the series. Be assured, though, that this novel works well as a stand-alone.

This thriller is set on and around a deprived council estate in south London. Trisha Collins' young daughter Casey goes missing and, as days pass, police, media and society at large automatically blame the apparently feckless single mother for her disappearance. Only Tate believes in her innocence - after all, she supported Trisha 33 years ago when Trisha led her to the body of one of the two young girls who had been abducted from nearby estates. The other girl was never found.

The storyline moves deftly back and forth between 1979 and the present day, with each episode revealing more and disturbing similarities to Casey's disappearance. Tate begins to wonder whether the wrong man had been punished for the 1979 murder. Was Casey's apparent abduction in revenge for a terrible miscarriage of justice?

Hudson has created some strong characters. The stand-out is Tate, but Trisha and several of the police officers involved in the enquiry are also very well-drawn, thanks to fluent and naturalistic dialogue and just enough back story. One of the most vivid is DI Natasha McKittrick, newly transferred to the Met. She appears to be the epitome of a dedicated and professional detective, but she hides a shocking addiction to sleeping tablets, which leads to reckless behaviour. Although not a police procedural as such, I particularly liked the depiction of the three detective constables in McKittrick's team. There is realistic banter and good description of the exhausting and exhaustive routine of a major investigation.

Hudson writes fluently and with no wasted words. She scatters quite a few (plausible) red herrings along the way and builds the tension inexorably to the apparent denouement. However, I was quite unprepared for the further, shocking revelation at the very end.

This story is a cut above many thrillers as it challenges us to question the sort of easy assumptions we make based on appearance and place in society. Has Trisha been wrongly vilified? What demons drive DI McKittrick to self-destructive behaviour? "The Third Estate" is a thoroughly absorbing read, and left me wanting to know more about the personal, "off-stage" lives of many of the characters, especially DI McKittrick (who deserves to be the lead character in a future book) and young DC Cath Murray, who reveals early on, in relaxed banter with a colleague, that she is gay. There is no further reference to this or, indeed, anything at all about her off-duty life. I do hope she will find her way back into the pages of another Hudson novel. Like Tate and McKittrick, there is surely much more to tell. I certainly look forward to further books by Eva Hudson.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 September 2014
I found this a hard book to put down. It feels odd to say I enjoyed it because Eva Hudson paints such a realistic picture of the depressing and at times, hopeless world in which some of the most disadvantaged of our society live. Small, almost insignificant observations are often the most telling, such as the description of the stairs in the home of the Collins family - uncarpeted, painted but filthy from the constant dirty shoes on them.
The author leads us (and her police team) up numerous blind alleys. The DCI fixates on certain suspects refusing to countenance the possibility that anyone other than his obsession de jour could be responsible for whatever it is that has happened - and even that is not clear, but endeavouring to shift the responsibility when he is proved wrong. The lower ranks of the investigation team - Mills, Murray and Kapoor, work well together, and we get a good idea of what makes at least two of them tick, but both DI McKittrick and DCI Barrow appear dysfunctional. The DI has a secret of her own which leads to a serious breach of her professional standards and leaves a DC in a difficult position, and the DCI has a closed mind and appears to be willing to push the consequences of his own shortcomings onto someone else's shoulders.

Journalist Angela Tate is a magnificent character; with something of a terrier about her, she refuses to give up on something she has got her teeth into (she learned that lesson over 30 years ago) and has an effectively threatening growl! However, has she met her match in her ambitious intern?

Maybe I have read too much of this genre, perhaps I have learned to expect the unexpected, but I could and did predict how the backstory was going to work out although there was no way of knowing who it was, just who it wasn't; there are hints in the story as to how the cold case would turn out and I did have that scenario in mind for quite some time. I even pondered correctly over the identity of the killer from 1979 but the confirmation was still a huge shock when it finally came.

This would make a great television series, but the pictures conjured up on a page of prose are far more vivid than those on screen. This is a great read which does demand some emotional and intellectual input from the reader but one which rewards the reader for that input.
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on 18 August 2013
Eva Hudson is a new author for me and when I read The Third Estate, I didn't realise it was the third in a series (missed a clue there then). However it is testament to Eva's writing that it really didn't matter. This book reads so well on it's own merit without reference to the other two books.
Eva Hudson has created a world peopled with characters from a variety of backgrounds,from journalists and police officers to criminals, each with just enough back story to make them credible and rounded. You'll hate some of them and identify with others but you certainly won't be indifferent.
There are enough twists and surprises to keep even the most seasoned reader on her toes. The Third Estate is fast-paced and fascinating in it's depiction of "low life" and how perceptions can be very deceiving...
Now I shall have to read the first two books!
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on 24 October 2013
Although I struggled to get going with this initially, once I had it was a very enjoyable read with a couple of unforeseen twists. Whilst not the greatest piece of literature ever (hence three stars) the story kept me gripped. A great holiday read.
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on 21 October 2013
This is the second book that I have read by Eva Hudson (the first being "The Loyal Servant") and I am pleased to say that I enjoyed this one just as much.

Nine-year-old Casey Collins has gone missing. Whilst a missing child is not unique to these types of stories, the way in which the police try to determine what has happened and the fact there is an additional unsolved mystery from 1979 which appears to have a link to Casey's disappearance helps make it feel different to anything I haev read previously. The police are very cynical about Trisha Collins (Casey's mother) due to the fact she is from a council estate and they have previously dealt with a case where the family were guilty of concealing what had happened to their child.

The story challenges stereotypes and the plot does take many twists throughout so it is difficult to guess what has happened. It also gives a bit of an insight into how some of the police officers work. Whilst I wouldn't call any of them under-developed, there is plenty of scope to use the police officers (especially Natasha McKittrick) in another story. The story features journalist Angela Tate from "The Loyal Servant", but this is intended as a stand-alone story.

Overall this is a great crime thriller and I will keep an eye out for more of Eva Hudson's works as I have really enjoyed the two I have read and I have found the writing style in both to be engaging, full of action but easy to follow and difficult to put down. Highly recommended reading to anyone who likes crime or thrillers.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 August 2013
Firstly, thank you kindly to the author for sending me a copy of this book for review.

Casey Collins has gone missing. She is 9 years old and has been gone for over 24 hours. As the police investigate prejudice abounds - the family live on a run down estate and assumptions are made. But Casey's mum Trisha is hiding a secret...

I very much enjoyed this book. For a start it brought back memories of living on the same type of estate when I was younger...and Eva Hudson has cleverly embraced the attitudes that tend to prevail and woven them into an intricate plot. Reporter Angela Tate, who I believe appears in earlier novels, is the only one that accepts the possibility that Trisha is not as she is portrayed - and I found her to be a compelling character. With its roots set firmly in the past and a possible miscarriage of justice, is it possible that Casey has been taken for revenge? Another character I loved was Natasha - one of the police officers on the case. She is hiding secrets of her own, and this colours her actions...she intrigued me a great deal.

The mystery element is superb - enough twists and turns to keep crime readers happy and yet equally an intriguing look at the society we live in and how much importance we base on appearance...this was cleverly done and well written. If I had to "box" it I would say crime thriller - but it could easily fall under simple fiction - a story of real people, facing real issues in the world as it is today. Character driven from the start and never lacking in human emotion, I was right there with them all for the whole of the journey. And the ending WILL shock you....

This novel is part of the "Degrees of Separation" series from this author - it is the third but can easily be read as a standalone. I shall certainly when time allows, be reading the previous two books.

Happy Reading Folks!
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on 19 November 2013
This was an excellent thriller, part of the three degrees of separation trilogy. I was especially glad to see Angela Tate and Frank Carter who appeared in the loyal servant. Although the author referred to the storyline in the loyal Servant this can be read on its own. This story is particularly relevant because it involved a child that was kidnapped in the 1970s who is found years later as adult. I have found this interesting because there have been a number of kids going missing presumed dead to turn up alive years later alive and well. My only criticism of the book is Eva Hudson had a habit of calling the characters by their surnames which made it confusing.
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on 27 December 2013
Starts as a simple story about a missing child. Gets ever more complex. Most characters have serious weaknesses and lots of crimes emerge - but what happened to the child?
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on 11 November 2013
The storywould have been more interesting with less to ing and fro ing which caused confusion and lack of conection with characters.
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on 13 March 2016
a really rivetting read This was hard to put down.At first i was not convinced that Angela Tate would make a strong protegonist after enjoying ghe Syberg books in which she features as a slightly annoying hack.This was however the best Eva Hudon novel I have read and Tate made a brilliant heroineThe plot twists and turns,andTate's tenacity shnes through the mist.She made me laugh as well, The complete package
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