Written by Rebecca Muddiman

Review written by Adam Colclough

Adam Colclough lives and works in the West Midlands, he writes regularly for a number of websites, one day he will get round to writing a book for someone else to review.

Mulholland Books
RRP: £7.99
Released: August 27, 2015

Every year thousands of people in the UK go missing, most turn up again; some stay gone for good.

Troubled adolescent Emma Thorley disappeared eleven years ago, the police, her family and everyone else thought she would never come back, then they found what could be her body. Along with the mouldering remains old secrets and enmities are uncovered; things that at least one person from her past may be willing to kill to see stay buried.

This is the sort of book the term 'dark' was coined to describe, the setting and tone are relentlessly bleak. Muddiman writes about an urban Britain that is just this side of completely broken, a place where lives are often blighted before they begin and a toxic mix of drugs, despair and inertia combines to make things worse.

The characters, from the borderline psychotic ex drug dealer who used to be Emma's boyfriend to the police officers trying to piece together what happened to her eleven years ago, are made real by the way they try to live 'normal' lives as much as the misfortunes heaped upon them. All are struggling to make headway in a world that routinely frustrates their efforts.

The author’s prose is spare and effective and she shows a strong sense of place. Muddiman's North is as much a spiritual as a physical location. A place of freezing rain, pub happy hours that are bleaker than a blizzard and grim-faced people who have been bred to expect life to be tough.

This is an assured and satisfying novel that takes its readers down the mean streets of Britain's badlands. Finding there much that is cruel and, surprisingly, a sort of temporal redemption for some of her characters.

Rebecca Muddiman is definitely a writer to watch and could become one of the significant voices in modern British crime fiction.

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