SHORT & SWEET REVIEW: NO NAME LANE BY HOWARD LINSKEY

Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet). 

Book Cover:  No Name Lane

I picked this up after reading a review on Reading, Writing and Riesling. I do like a good crime thriller and this one, with its mix of cold-case and present-day crimes, sounded like a good one to get stuck into. Here’s the blurb:

Young girls are being abducted and murdered in the North East. Out-of-favour Detective Constable Ian Bradshaw struggles to find any leads – and fears that the only thing this investigation will unravel is himself. Journalist Tom Carney is suspended by his London tabloid and returns to his home village in country Durham. Helen Norton is the reporter who replaced Tom on the local newspaper. Together, they are drawn into a case that will change their lives forever. When a body in found, it’s not the latest victim but a decades-old corpse. Secrets buried for years are waiting to be found, while in the present-day an unstoppable killer continues to evade justice.

This is the first novel I’ve read by Howard Linskey (he’s written a few books before this one). No Name Lane brings together media and police as they seek to solve old and new crimes; both the featured police officer and journalist are out-of-favour with their employers (neither of which sound particularly inviting to work for) so solving the cases (and coming up with good headlines) is what Det-Const Bradshaw and journalist Tom Carney need to prove their worth. So does Helen – as the newbie at the local rag, no one is giving her any help. As a former journalist, I’m familiar with the interesting relationship media and police have – suspicion mixed with the knowledge that much of the time, they need each other. Readers will find the contrast between tabloid and community journalism methods interesting in terms of procedure and ethics; they will also get a glimpse into how frustrating it can be to find news sometime! There’s a scene in which Tom tells Helen to cold call the buses and ask if they are planning to raise fares, and if they say no, she can write a story along the lines of “No plans to raise fares”.

Overall the book was fairly quick to read, despite its length, and it tied together the two murder investigations well. However, it did feel a bit rushed towards the end, and the modern-day crime was solved more out of luck, rather than brilliant investigative skills. It’s a decent read, but not one that stands out for me as brilliant.

Available from good bookstores and Penguin Books Australia. My copy was courtesy of Penguin Books Australia.