Sleeping Beauties: (An Inspector Tom Reynolds Mystery Book 3) Paperback – 17 May 2018
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Deft plotting and expert handling of tension make for an intelligent mystery (Guardian)
Fiendishly clever . . . and a big fat twist is lobbed into the ending like a hand grenade (Irish Sunday Independent)
Brilliant! Fast paced, well researched and sensitive. Jo Spain is a sparkling new talent (Irish Examiner)
Spain's vivid thriller explores the dark secrets of Ireland's past that are a real-life situation haunting so many people within Irish society today (Irish Country Living)
In a very strong year for Irish crime-fiction debuts, Jo Spain's With Our Blessing is among the most assured . . . With Our Blessing picks at the scabs of recent Irish history to reveal raw and gaping wounds (Irish Times)
Jo Spain's vivid thriller explores the dark secrets from Ireland's past that continue to haunt Irish society today (Martin Sixsmith, author of Philomena)
Atmospheric and compelling (Sinéad Crowley)
Spain handles the inevitable tensions with aplomb (Sunday Times)
Packed with fascinating details . . . this is a satisfying mystery (Irish Independent)
Absolutely my comfort reading (Ann Cleeves)
The Irish Bestselling author of With Our Blessing and Beneath the SurfaceSee all Product description
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Fiona Holland has been missing for two weeks when a body is discovered at a well-known beauty spot. It looks as though it has been recently buried in a rather shallow grave, but the corpse is several years old so why has it been recently reburied? Smart detective work finds four more graves and it is evident that a serial killer is on the loose. However, none of the bodies is Fiona.
The book is concerned with the search to find Fiona and the killer, but it is interlaced with the ongoing private lives of Tom and his team. Enough information is given, in a totally appropriate way, for it not to matter if you have not read the previous books. The strands of the story are kept perfectly in balance, neither dominating, but acting to heighten the tension as the plot weaves towards its climax.
This is an excellent series. Both the characters and police setting ring true and as we get to know Tom’s team their characters develop and deepen. I was engrossed right from the start and read it in one long, very satisfied sitting. Highly recommended - as are With Our Blessing and Beneath the Surface.
Tom Reynolds's investigation brings more than just five terrible murder cases to light, and I don't just mean the fate of Fiona Holland, the missing young woman who might well be the sixth victim of the killer if he isn't stopped. The backgrounds of the victims also reveals deep-rooted prejudices and intolerance that exists against young women whose behaviour - drinking and carrying on with men - doesn't meet the standards of decency and propriety that is ingrained by social and religious traditions. The serial-killer might be preying on such women at a rate of one each year, but it's apparent that a blind-eye has been turned to the abuse of many other Irish women over the years, in some cases undoubtedly resulting in other unknown and unacknowledged deaths.
Such issues arise naturally out of the situation and the location, and Jo Spain never lets any moralising get in the way of the primary focus of the novel's crime investigation. The same thing can be said - mostly - for the domestic matters that are also a feature of the author's books. I can't imagine anyone is excited at the predictable playing out of the nauseating romantic situation between Ray and Laura, but Spain at least keeps emotions there related to the case in hand. Tom's difficulties with his new boss also connect meaningfully with the old-fashioned 'how things are done' attitudes of the Irish police force.
After tackling priests and politicians in previous books, the police prove to be a more difficult agent of power to get a handle on, since evidently DI Tom Reynolds represents a more progressive and modern version of the Garda from the old one that Spain's novel is so critical of. Sleeping Beauties isn't quite so hard-hitting on that front then as it might be, and there are also some doubts about the coincidences that are needed to provide the customary twist to the resolution. On the other hand, it might just prove the point that Ireland is a relatively small place where gossip and provincial attitudes largely prevail, and that will doubtless provide many other areas of crime, corruption and abuse of power for Jo Spain's detective to uncover.
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