“The Seagull is a searing new novel by Sunday Times bestselling author Ann Cleeves, about corruption deep in the heart of a community, and fragile, and fracturing, family relationships.”
From Ann Cleeves, winner of the CWA Diamond Dagger Award, comes The Seagull.
A visit to her local prison brings DI Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: former detective superintendent, and now inmate, John Brace. Brace was convicted of corruption and involvement in the death of a gamekeeper – and Vera played a key part in his downfall.
Now, Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer who disappeared in the mid-nineties, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren. He tells her that Marshall is dead, and that his body is buried close to St Mary’s Island in Whitley Bay. However, when a search team investigates, officers find not one skeleton, but two.
This cold case case takes Vera back in time, and very close to home, as Brace and Marshall, along with a mysterious stranger known only as ‘the Prof’, were close friends of Hector, her father. Together, they were the ‘Gang of Four’, regulars at a glamorous nightclub called The Seagull. Hector had been one of the last people to see Marshall alive. As the past begins to collide dangerously with the present, Vera confronts her prejudices and unwanted memories to dig out the truth . . .
This is the eighth book in the DI Vera Stanhope mysteries from Ann Cleeves. I have read several of the series and, for me, The Seagull is the most engrossing and the one I have most enjoyed reading. It flows well and brings back all the characters we have come to know alongside Vera.
Whilst this is a story in which Vera and her team are trying to resolve more than one murder it is not gory but a well told tale of detection. It brings with it the human side of life lived in the shady areas of prostitution, drugs and organised crime rather than the gritty side but nor does it allow you to bury your head in the ground of how difficult and dangerous these worlds can be. Rather this is a book that concentrates on resolving the crimes through solid police work and detection.
Vera is a wonderful character and is most certainly central to unravelling the mystery, especially as this one involved her father Hector, and solving the crimes but the rest of the team – Joe, Holly and Charlie – play their part. It brings us more of Vera’s history, touching so much on the past – her mother, neighbours old and new and Hector who, despite his criminal activities, Vera staunchly protects the memory of. Is she right to now that he may be linked to murder?
Well written and engaging I am happy to recommend this book.
This book, in the form of an e-galley, was made available via NetGalley from St Martins Press for an honest review. My thanks to them both.
St. Martin’s Press
Publish date: 05 Sept 2017 (US and UK)
Available Editions: Hardcover