Friday 24 October 2014

Review ~ Race to Death by Leigh Russell.

Title: Race to Death.
Author: Leigh Russell.
Publisher: No Exit Press.
Genre: Crime.
Publication Date: September 25, 2014.
Source: Review copy.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

'Moments before, he had been enjoying a day out at the races. Now he could be dying…. As he fell a loud wind roared past his ears, indistinguishable from the roar of the crowd. The race was over'.

A man plummets to his death during the York Races. Suicide or murder? Newly-promoted DI Ian Peterson is plunged into a complex and high-profile case, and as the body count increases, the pressure mounts for his team to solve the crimes quickly.

But the killer is following the investigation far more keenly than Ian realises and time is running out as the case suddenly gets a lot closer to home...

Race to Death is the second book in the DI Ian Peterson series although I was reading it with no issues as a standalone novel. This is my first Leigh Russell book and I can almost guarantee it will not be my last. Through this book alone, I have become a massive fan of Leigh’s writing. Race to Death began with a man falling to his death at the York races. I was interested straight away and fascinated with how things might play out. Even though we’re thrown straight into the action, I felt like it was still a bit of a slow-burning beginning to the book. However, once the investigation began, I was tense, on-edge and completely hanging off Leigh Russell’s every word.

As Adrian is murdered from the balcony at a York racecourse, I immediately let my mind set to work and began trying to guess aimlessly at who could be involved. Did his wife and brother, also at the races, know more than they were letting on? If so or even if not, there were countless possible witnesses there on a busy day at the races so I was eager to know where this story was going to be taken. I thought Leigh’s writing was really brave and intelligent here because so many characters were there to get involved in the investigation but not once did I lose track, or think any links or ideas were implausible. It was compelling enough just to work out what I thought of each individual character and any motives they might have but Leigh made it all seem so realistic and the concept of the investigation felt thoroughly researched and developed. At times it was even quite eerily easy to imagine and I was gripped.

Adrian’s death wasn’t the only one and I loved every single twist for two main reasons – one because they kept an investigation going that I really did not want to end and two because they really kept me involved in the procedures of the investigation. I felt like I followed every step of DI Ian and his teams’ work – from the identifying of new suspects, finding possible witnesses, interviewing people, releasing people and identifying bodies. I kept on guessing as they tried to piece things together and I was so drawn into the plot that it was like I was working little things out alongside them as well as getting led round in circles and a little lost with them too. The pacing really picked up as the investigation went on and it was relentlessly fast, heightening my anticipation every time I turned to page as to what was to come next. I can’t go into the plot any more than I have done because this novel really has to be experienced for yourself. But I can say that Leigh’s writing of a murder investigation is utterly compelling, and fantastic, and you won’t want to stop reading until you have put together all the clues, discovered the red herrings and found out every motive and who’s guilty. Race to Death was a captivating novel and I absolutely cannot wait to read more from this author.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK

Leigh Russell studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English. For many years a secondary school English teacher, she is a creative writing tutor for adults. She is married, has two daughters, and lives in North West London.

Her first novel, Cut Short, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award in 2010. This was followed by Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act in the Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel series. Cold Sacrifice is the first title in a spin off series featuring Geraldine Steel's sergeant, Ian Peterson, followed by Race to Death. Leigh is a bestselling author on Kindle, iTunes, Waterstones and WH Smiths.

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