I was in the mood to go back to my beginnings in crime fiction; memories of reserving all of Martina Cole’s books in the library as a “youngish” thing came flooding back to me and so I decided to treat myself with a wee purchase of Damaged.
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
A serial killer is in town and the race is on for DCI Kate Burrows. Stop the killer before more innocent girls die…
When the bodies of missing schoolgirls start turning up, former DCI Kate Burrows is dragged out of retirement.
A new Grantley serial killer is in town and DCI Annie Carr turns to Kate for help. She welcomes the distraction from her home life with former gangster, Patrick Kelly, whose long-lost son has turned up out of the blue, bringing trouble with him.
It soon becomes clear the killer is on their doorstep and as the body count grows, Kate and Annie face a race against the clock.
But they have no real leads … and there’s more to these murders than meets the eye. Can Kate take the killer down before another schoolgirl dies?
Damaged is the explosive new novel from Sunday Times No.1 bestseller, Martina Cole, and sees the return of her iconic heroine DCI Kate Burrows. The ‘undisputed queen of crime writing’ (Guardian) and the biggest selling female crime writer in the UK, Martina’s unique, powerful storytelling includes Dangerous Lady, The Ladykiller, Betrayal and many more.
Forgive me crime fiction for I have sinned…It has been so long since I read Martina Cole that I really feel quite guilty! However I have to say that settling myself down and slipping into #Damaged gave me that same sense of warm satisfaction that taking off your bra and getting into PJs at the end of the day brings. I completely settled right into the story and the lives of the characters as though I’d never been away.
However, don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security, there is no all warm and cosy crime fiction here, hell no this is a novel so sharp that you can almost see the steel glinting from the pages! Murder, torture, family dynamics and tension are all wrapped up alongside the murky world of “The Face” Patrick Kelly and sit alongside a fascinating social commentary on the world as it is today and how it changes everybody’s lives, from policing to the “Faces” they are all somewhat governed by the developments in technology and Martina Cole has taken this development and effortlessly worked it into a plot that will strike fear in the hearts of parents of teenagers. For who really knows what goes on behind the filtered lives that fill our screens every day. That whole notion of “my filtered life” is covered brilliantly here as young victims used to living their lives out on social media are coming face to face with a killer who does not like what they see. It is a sad but truthful reflection on today’s society where more and more people feel the need to have themselves validated by the number of likes and shares on social media.
Margaret Dole is the cyber expert within the force, not immensely popular with the team but with a skill set becoming increasingly necessary to police work given the online persona’s the majority of the population have. When Kate is called back in to officially assist with the investigation she knows just how to work Margaret and this is one of Kate’s best qualities. No matter her relationship or feelings towards others she can put them aside and get on with the task in hand. There was a real warmth between Kate and DCI Annie Carr and even when Annie’s nose was put out of joint at the welcome Kate received on her return, Kate was still able to address her old friend’s irritation without spoiling the relationship.
I love Kate’s relationship with Patrick is totally realistic despite their different backgrounds. Even when their relatively quiet lives are turned upside down with a knock at the door one day the two of them just gel together. Kate is the only woman who Patrick Kelly will allow to put him in his place. An easy naturalness to the narrative draws you in and keeps you engrossed. Short sharp characters means the pace is just right, this one was definitely a one sitting read.
I can definitely say this was a brilliant re-introduction to Martina Cole and I will definitely not be waiting so long again this time round!
Damaged is available to purchase from: