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On one momentous night, in October 1992, birth, death and fire collide in the coastal town of Southend-on-Sea. Twenty-five years later, a young true-crime podcaster reports on the events of his birth date, drawing particular attention to the rape and murder of 19-year-old Heather Bowyer, a crime which remains unsolved. So begins Isabelle Grey’s new novel, Wrong Way Home.

Enter protagonist Detective Inspector Grace Fisher, special investigating officer of the Case Remains Open files – and star of three earlier Grey titles. Grace has reopened Heather’s case – advances in forensic science have led to the discovery of two new DNA profiles on evidence recovered from the original crime scene. As Grace and her team doggedly follow-up on leads, podcaster Freddie Craig’s Stories from the Fire focus on the more salacious details of Heather’s murder, his broadcasts gaining traction when a veteran journalist, who had covered the original case, endorses him.

Freddie’s conversational yet somewhat theatrical style of podcasting contrasts beautifully with the detail and methodology of Grace’s official investigation. It’s here that Grey’s skill as a writer shines through, as she presents her meticulous research and knowledge of police procedure and forensics in an accessible and believable manner. It never jars. And this is probably down to Grey’s experience as a screenwriter for such crime pleasers as Wycliffe, Midsomer Murders and The Bill.

Murder apart, though, family figures prominently in Wrong Way Home – through people involved in the case and, indeed, Grace herself, we are led to question whether we are defined by our past or whether we can choose to follow our own path.

A sophisticated, well-paced book, Wrong Way Home is a fine example of great British crime fiction, and while this is our first foray into Isabelle Grey’s writing, it certainly won’t be our last.

 

Wrong Way Home | Isabelle Grey |  Quercus | 17 May 2018 | hardback | £20.99

 

Acknowledgements: This review is published as part of the Wrong Way Home book blog tour. Many thanks to Anne Cater for organising it and to the publisher for supplying a proof copy. Image © The Literary Shed 2018. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved.

 

Also of interest:The stark beauty of William Shaw’s Salt Lane‘; ‘The Things You Didn’t See – Ruth Dugdall; ‘Johana Gustawsson’s Keeper –indie publisher, Orenda, does it again‘; ‘Elder’s last stand – John Harvey’s Body and Soul;  ‘We should all be feminists’; ‘Jane Harper’s stylish debut – The Dry’; How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original Penguin Ten’; ‘Book covers we love – Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday’.

 

This review is © 2018 by The Literary Shed. All rights reserved. All opinions are our own. We welcome your feedback and comments. If you wish to reproduce this piece, please do contact us to request permission. Thank you so much.