Kate Lyall Grant has selected this month’s title.
With A LITTLE DEATH, the third in a series of intricately-plotted forensic mysteries featuring Professor Kate Hanson and her colleagues at the Unsolved Crimes Unit, we are thrilled to welcome author A. J. Cross to the Severn House list. In this tense, twisting and expertly-crafted tale, forensic psychologist, university lecturer and mother-of-one, Kate, is faced with a seemingly impossible case when the body of a young student is discovered in a field near her college, a year after she went missing. The badly decomposed remains are offering up few clues, and with little in the way of forensic evidence, Kate realizes that if she is to have any chance to discover who killed the young woman, she must find out what motivated the killer, the reason behind the murder, the why.
Like her heroine, A.J. Cross is a forensic psychologist with over 20 years’ experience in the field and, as a reader, I felt privileged to be afforded an authentic insider’s view of what really goes on in a detailed murder investigation. The novel pulls no punches in its unflinching portrayal of the grim physical reality of violent death as Kate and her cold case colleagues sift through the evidence in their dogged, painstaking, methodical fashion. With her calm, no-nonsense approach, Kate makes for a sympathetic and thoroughly likeable heroine as she struggles with the dilemmas faced by 21st-century women everywhere in juggling her various demanding roles. Despite their minor irritations with one another, thrown up by their very different personalities, the members of the Unsolved Crimes Unit pull together when it matters, forming a tight, mutually supportive team: the strong camaraderie between them eventually proving key to cracking the case.
Meticulously-plotted, crammed with credible suspects, cunningly-planted clues and intriguing red herrings, A LITTLE DEATH drew me in from the outset and kept me guessing right to the end. I would wholeheartedly recommend this title to anyone who loves a well-plotted mystery, peopled by fully-rounded, memorable characters, spiced with authentic, in-depth forensic detail.
A LITTLE DEATH will be released on 31 January, but is available to order from all book shops and online vendors now.