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Crime Scene Books are publishing the Amy Lane series by Rosie Claverton for the first time in paperback, as part of their 2018 programme.

Released on 19 April, Binary Witness and Code Runner introduce new readers to the unconventional partnership of reclusive computer whizz Amy Lane and her side-kick, former crook Jason Carr.

Binary Witness, the first Lane book, opens with the ubiquitous ‘No! Don’t go out there!’ scene – you know, the one where you’re shouting at the girl on the screen, as she, even against her own better judgement, leaves the safety of her home to take the rubbish out, leaving her door unlocked, of course, and inevitably, living to regret it. In this case, the news of the girl’s disappearance, coupled with another, bring the police to Amy’s flat, which Jason just happens to be cleaning.

It’s an unusual premise for a partnership: Amy, suffering from severe agoraphobia and flat-bound for many years, and Jason, struggling to find his way post-prison. The two become unlikely allies: Jason, Amy’s eyes and ears in the outside world, able to do the things that she can only dream of from the confines of the self-imposed prison that’s her flat.

Amy is a dysfunctional, socially challenged protagonist who turns her mental illness into something positive, by using her exceptional computer skills for the greater good, through her work with the local police force. Tattooed and shaven-headed Jason, who knows how to ‘smile and speak softly’, so as not scare people, somehow manages to break through Amy’s walls so that she, first, suffers him cleaning her pigsty of a flat, where even the fridge is a ‘hideous laboratory of biological warfare’, then allows him in further to help her solve crime.

The book is a veritable homage to pop culture – most of the chapter titles referencing or alluding to songs, films and plays (‘Cry Me a River’, Dial M for Murder, An Inspector Calls). It’s a clever device which keeps the plot current and the tone light, even when dealing with serious issues, such as abduction and murder.

In a strange way, even though these books are set in Cardiff, and feel if not specifically Welsh, certainly British, they bring to mind Monk, the hugely successful American detective TV series (2002–9), featuring a reclusive, brilliant protagonist with mental health issues. Rosie Claverton, who is, incidentally, a junior psychiatrist, actively advocates for more sensitive treatment of people with mental health issues in fiction. And certainly, if the early Amy Lane books are anything to go by, she practices what she preaches.

Code Runner is the second Amy Lane book. Crime Scene Books will be publishing further titles in the Amy Lane series later in the year.

 

Rosie Claverton’s Binary Witness | Amy Lane #1

Code Runner | Amy Lane #2

Both published in  paperback | 19 April 2018 | Crime Scene Books | £7.99

 

Acknowledgements: This review is published as part of Rosie Claverton book blog tour. Many thanks to Anne Cater and the publisher for supplying ePubs. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Quoted text pages 13, 20 © Rosie Claverton 2014, 2018.

 

Also of interest:Elder’s last stand – John Harvey’s Body and Soul; ‘Leigh Russell’s Geraldine Steel – you just can’t keep a good woman down’; ‘Beauty in translation – Roxanne Bouchard’s French Canadian noir’; ‘Finlay’s last stand – Matt Johnson’s End Game’; ‘We should all be feminists’; ‘Jane Harper’s stylish debut – The Dry’; ‘Mallory an old-style hero – It Happens in the Dark by Carol O’Connell’; ‘The long road – John Fairfax’s Summary Justice‘; ‘Nora Roberts’ Come Sundown – a tale of strong women’; 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.