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on 11 November 2014
I found myself with very divided emotions about Ian & Bev Peterson. I can understand Ian's anxiety to do a good job and prove himself worthy of his promotion as he starts a new job in a new city. I can understand that he is driven to find a murderer before more people die, I can even understand that his loyalties are divided between the new job and Bev's cloying misery and unpredictable temperament, BUT he married her, knowing that she was clingy and not totally supportive of his career choice. He also took the decision to apply for a promotion in another force area hundreds of miles from her family and friends. He cannot then just leave her to get on with life, mostly on her own in a city where she knows no-one and has no social structure to fall back on and expect her not to be miserable or needy. It's just NOT ON Ian!! Just saying.

Leigh Russell has taken the time to get to know York and describes the area very well, indeed the Tourist Information Board in the city should be selling her books in their offices. I loved the description of how Jocelyn felt when walking on the city walls, it can be a very dizzying experience even for those who are not phobic about heights.

That everyone has something in their lives which they wouldn't want the rest of the world to know about is a given, and those things are well exploited in this book. Illicit relationships, a temper which is too quick to arouse, guilt, remorse, anxiety, - all play a part here. There are many contenders to be the villain but all we can be sure of is who it isn't - but can we? I made the necessary connection fairly early on, but didn't understand why. There are one or two questions which I would ideally want answered but cannot go into them here as to do so may reveal more than I should. The important thing for readers of this book to understand is that nothing can be taken at face value.

This being his first case in York, Ian is obviously in the early stages of building good working relationships and it will be interesting to see how those develop, especially in light of the last question asked in the story. This was a solidly built and researched story with a good pace, plenty of action and a generous amount of suspense which I thoroughly enjoyed. I look forward to more books featuring DI Peterson, but for goodness sake Leigh Russell - will you please find an interest for Bev, otherwise I could be the next killer Ian is searching for.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 October 2014
I was unsure about the rating of this and felt it was only fair to give it a 4 (although I considered a 3 as there were things I disliked immensely). The Geraldine Steel series that Russell writes took its time to really come into its own and now as the 7th book approaches (next year I guess) it’s a brilliant series. I feel like it’s the same with this new Ian Peterson series. It’s a slow burner but have a feeling once we are 3 or 4 books in it will come into its own. It always difficult to split a series but Leigh Russell has managed to do that and Ian Peterson (who used to work for Geraldine Steel) now has his own series. This second book in the series starts off re-introducing the readers to Ian and his wife Bev. They have relocated to York due to Peterson getting promoted to D.I.

I’m going to start with the negatives, and yes I know I gave it 4 out of 5 but there were still things I didn’t like. First off, what is with Ian’s wife? I have never liked her, but for some reason she became even more irritating in this book. There is absolutely nothing to like about the woman and she grated on me from start to finish. Secondly, the book was a little bit slow in places and took some time to get going. I also feel like Ian is almost a novice at policing, which is odd because when he was working for Geraldine he was an amazing copper. Maybe this is him showing his lack of confidence, who knows.

Aside from those niggles the story kept me entertained as soon as it picked up its pace. The murders are plentiful starting with a guy at the races, and then it all seems to go downhill from there. I was a bit bewildered at the relationship with the widow of the first murder victim and the brother. There seemed so much potential and then it seemed to just disappear. We also see a man named Richard on the receiving end of some nasty threats from a stalker.

I certainly didn’t see the ending coming and was surprised at the turn of events. The second half of the book was much better and it seemed Leigh Russell got into her stride very quickly after that. Overall an enjoyable book but I’m looking forward to the next one much more.
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on 27 July 2014
A newly-promoted and newly-arrived in town DI quickly has to deal with a mysterious death at a racecourse, while also trying to settle in to a new home and support his wife who is finding their new life difficult. The killer, however, does not stop at one victim so the pressure mounts on both the work and home fronts, leaving Ian Peterson struggling to make sense of what is going on.

Though I've read a couple of Leigh Russell's books before they only rarely featured short appearances by Ian Petersen, the protagonist of this one. However, as this is only the character's second spin-off book I don't think I had a significantly diminished experience by knowing almost nothing about him when I started reading. I found him a very sympathetic character, exhibiting frailties of which many of us are guilty, and struggling with his work-life balance. It's definitely a cliché that fictional coppers have problems with their marriages and/or other aspects of their home lives, but this portrayal felt realistic and something the reader could identify with. His wife Bev is equally well drawn and we see her struggle to orient herself in a new town, a new job, and coming to terms with the fact that she could be seen as less important in the marriage than Ian due to their basing their lives on his career path rather than hers.

The York setting of the book is interesting and the idea of a murder in a place as busy as a racecourse is intriguing. The book is very good on the procedural aspects of crime investigation in that it shows that what at first appears to be a credible lead can end up in a dead end. The pressure from more senior officers to make arrests quickly also has a realistic feel. If the book has a theme it's that appearances can be deceptive, as time and time again individuals' actions demonstrate a very different personality to their public persona.

This is the kind of book that you want to race through to find out how it comes out so it felt like a bit of a rollercoaster ride with the speed picking up in the last quarter. It's very cleverly plotted and I certainly didn't realise the direction it was going in until the author wanted me to. When I finished I was happy that all the loose ends had been tied up and there were no elements that felt overly contrived, so all in it was a well-written, diverting read. It may not live long in the memory, but I don't think it aims to, rather it entertains while you're reading it and whets your appetite for the books in the series that will follow.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 July 2014
Race to Death, begins with a suspicious death at York Racecourse, which, for newly promoted DI Ian Peterson, starts a convoluted crime search. For Peterson, lately transferred to York CID, not only has to cope with a new detective team, but also with a crime scene which offers little in the way of clues or explanation. What then follows is a convoluted and complicated crime story which uses the initial crime scene as a starting block for other more complicated deaths. For Peterson and his team, there seems little correlation between the crimes but gradually truths are exposed and strands start to come together.

I enjoyed the story, it's an easy read and yet the twist and turns are complex and well crafted and there are more than enough red herrings to keep you guessing until the end. The characterisation is particularly well done and I liked the way story started to piece together with just enough tension to keep the momentum alive. The ending of the story left everything nicely wrapped up but with the added promise of more to come from DI Peterson.

There is no doubt that the author is an accomplished crime writer, she has already had a successful run with her Geraldine Steel series of crime novels. It is interesting, now, to see her turn her attention to Ian Peterson who for so long worked in Steel's shadow as her detective sergeant. In this, his own series DI Peterson is newly promoted and transferred from London to York. His wife Bev, also gets more of a starring role and as she learns to cope with living in a new town we get more of her personality, and start to piece together the dynamics of them as a couple.

This is the second book in the DI Ian Peterson series, and whilst it is more enjoyable to start the series at the beginning, it is by no means essential as the author provides enough clues to able to pick up the finer points of the back story.

My thanks to Real Readers for my review copy of Race to Death.
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on 5 July 2014
I had previously read "Stop Dead" by the same author. I read this when i had a spare moment and to be honest when I really hadn't got one, I enjoyed it that much. It is an easy read and centres on newly-promoted DI Ian Peterson. He has "dragged" his wife, Bev, away from family and friends in Kent to the capital of Yorkshire. His re-location has helped Ian put some distance between himself and his in-laws who are not too impressed with their new son-in-law despite his rapid promotion.So not only does he have to prove that the move was a good one to his wife he also has new colleagues to impress,and in particular his new boss DCI Eileen Duncan.
York Racecourse is the venue for the first murder and initially Ian is pleased that the case seems an easy one. However things are not what they seem and Ian is soon working extra hours and neglecting his wife who without any friends gets bored. The conflicts in family life are well portrayed, he trying to impress his new colleagues by working extra hours and she having nothing to do all day and waiting eagerly for his return from work. In the end to relieve the boredom and to bring in extra cash, Ian agrees that Bev can take a job.However, it so becomes apparant that Bev's new boss may be interested in more than her office skills.
For Ian the body count mounts.There is a nice twist as you think you have worked it out and you haven't. Loved it!
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on 11 July 2014
I received ‘Race to Death’ from Real Readers and asked to provide an honest review. This is the third Leigh Russel novel I have read, and the first DI Ian Peterson novel. I have to admit it was nice to get away from Geraldine Steel, Leigh Russel’s original series, however, the writing style is too similar across all the novels and I am beginning to lose interest in this authors novels.

I enjoy psychological thrillers, and now and again a good murder mystery. However, I like a novel where you are continually guessing who is involved in the deaths, yet this novel I felt you did not get this aspect. There was not enough clues given throughout this book and I felt that I was given information that could not and did not lead me to any answers.

Leigh Russel has fantastic ideas but the writing style is not my ‘cup of tea’. There is just something ‘missing’ and this being the third novel I have read by this author I have to say those who enjoy interesting ideas over more in depth characters and story lines, this may be an author you enjoy. If character development is important then not so much.

This is a personal view, and I am not an avid murder mystery fan. Therefore, I do not have a wide range of authors to compare with in this genre.

For me this is a 2.5 out of 5.
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on 4 August 2014
I have read Leigh Russell's crime novels from the beginning with 'Cut Short.' Her characters have evolved slowly, as in life, you get to know people gradually. This has given them depth, particularly in this book 'Race To Death.' Leigh doesn't just have the despairing wife shaking her head as she throws the overlooked dinner into the kitchen bin and then it's a case of now let's get back to the crime story. No we get to know D.I. Ian Peterson's wife and the complexities of their marriage which has been further impacted by their relocation from Kent to York.
The book opens at York races and the writer skilfully gives the reader a great sense of place in how she describes the scene of the crime and the series of events that followed. I have enjoyed all of Leigh Russell's novels and like her characters she has also evolved from a good to a great writer. It was an effortless read, and I'm looking forward to her next Ian Peterson or Geraldine Steel story.
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on 15 October 2014
DI Ian Peterson and his wife Bev have recently moved from Kent to York, following his promotion to Detective Inspector. Ian works in the Serious Crimes division and it's not long before the apparent suicide of an attendee at York races gives him his first case in his new role. The evidence soon reveals that this case is not as simple as it first appears, giving Ian considerably more clues to unravel and a killer to apprehend, before he can wrap up the case and hopefully impress his new boss in the process.

With an unimpressed Bev unsettled by the recent move, Ian fights to keep his head above water at work and at home, but the cracks soon begin to show as the corpses increase in number and the pressure builds. Can Ian crack the case and keep his marriage on track? There's a whole lot riding on this case and time is running out!

The fact that this is the second book in this series didn't diminish my enjoyment as it easily serves as a stand alone. The author's clever use of vocabulary brings protagonist Ian and his supporting characters to life as they play their different parts in this gritty crime thriller. Fast-paced and unrelenting, and with more than enough twists to keep the most demanding reader entertained, Race to Death certainly doesn't disappoint! 4.5/5*
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on 26 March 2015
DI Ian Peterson is becoming a great stand alone detective in his own right. After moving from Devon to York Ian is determined to make good impression on his boss Eileen but as the murders begin to pile up this is looking more unlikely. This isn't from the lack of hours he is putting in at work as he spends hours going through a mountain of paper work hours after everyone else has gone home to bed. Ian is also feeling pressured and guilty about leaving his wife Bev alone for such a long time. Living in a new area his wife has no friends and no job.
This book is a real who done it novel with a really good twist. I am looking forward to another Ian Peterson novel so I hope he makes the right decision. Readers of Leigh Russell will love this book.
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on 30 January 2015
A good read, but slightly more research would have shown a sheeps eye looks completely different from a human eye, as they do not have a round pupil. Never mind.
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