In the tradition of Ruth Rendell, Lynda la Plante, Frances Fyfield and Barbara Vine, Cut Short is a gripping psychological thriller that introduces DI Geraldine Steel, a woman whose past is threatening to collide with her future.
When DI Geraldine Steel relocates to the quiet rural town of Woolsmarsh, she expects to find her new home to be somewhere where nothing much ever happens; a space where she can battle her demons in private. But when she finds herself pitted against a twisted killer preying on local young women, she quickly discovers how wrong she is....
By day, the park is a place for children's games, for people walking their dogs or taking a short cut to avoid the streets. But in the shadows a predator prowls, hunting for a fresh victim. When an unwitting bystander comes forward as a witness she quickly becomes the next object of his murderous obsessions; someone whom the killer must stop at all costs.
DI Geraldine Steel is locked into a race against time, determined to find the killer before yet another naked corpse turns up. But can she save the lives of the town's young women - or will Geraldine herself become the killer's ultimate trophy?
What the Narrator Says
"Becoming Geraldine Steel was fantastic fun. She's a great, strong female character who takes you with her on dark journeys into the criminal world. She makes mistakes but she certainly fixes them with aplomb! Leigh has created a grimy world full of depraved and scary criminals but Geraldine and her colleagues (particularly the brilliant Ian Peterson), are determined to put criminals where they belong - behind bars. Can't wait for the next instalment..." Lucy Price-Lewis on narrating the Geraldine Steel series.
"Cut Short is a stylish, top-of-the-line crime tale, a seamless blending of psychological sophistication and gritty police procedure. And you're just plain going to love DI Geraldine Steel." (Jeffery Deaver)
"Russell paints a careful and intriguing portrait of a small British community while developing a compassionate and complex heroine who's sure to win fans." (Publisher's Weekly)
"Simply awesome! This debut novel by Leigh Russell will take your breath away." (Amanda C M Gillies, eurocrime.co.uk)
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It is hard to say
Yes, but not another book by this author
I am a great fan of crime/thriller books with a police procedural aspect to them but I have to say that, probably, this is the poorest such novel I have listened to for quite a long time. I feel this way for three reasons:
Firstly, I think the choice of a character with both learning disability and serious chronic mental illness as the murderer is ethically questionable. There is quite a lot of ‘How can we stop mentally ill people from going round murdering people?’ type of hysteria in the public media, when, the fact is that people with learning difficulties and mental illness are significantly less likely to be murderers than people without such disorders. The reality is that one is much more likely to be murdered by a sane person than a mad one. People with mental and learning problems have had to fight very hard to combat the stigma that has attached to such disorders in the past. Books like this exploit these vulnerable people and set back the cause of normalising mental health issues. Furthermore the author shows a very inadequate understanding about how people with serious chronic mental illness are looked after in the community.
Secondly, the quality of writing in this book is not very good, to say the least. Someone in another review described it with the phrase ‘...GCSE level...’ I would very much agree with that. Much of it has the literary quality of a very average adolescent school essay. Examples of ‘he said...she said...then they said..etc’ type dialogue and description, together with unnecessarily repeated actions and phrases, abound throughout the book.
Thirdly, there is very little real character development. None of the protagonists in the story really come to life in any sustained way. There are ‘stubs’ of side stories such as the graffiti attacks on Geraldine’s home and car, possible drinking/alcoholism issues with her boss the DCI, and the inclusion of a former rock superstar, and his daughter’s love life, but none are properly developed or embedded in the overall narrative in a way that makes real sense of why they are included.