Book info

Stop Dead (2012)

Stop Dead (2012)
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Rating
4.05 of 5 Votes: 3
ISBN
184243859X (ISBN13: 9781842438596)
languge
English
publisher
no exit
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Stop Dead (2012)
Stop Dead (2012)

About book: Di Geraldine Steele has recently moved to a new job with the Met Police in North London, which seems a world away from her previous career in Kent. She and her female DS, Sam Haley, start work on looking into the murder of a local businessman, but something doesn’t add up and soon there is a further death. There’s DNA evidence from both crimes, but who the traces belong to brings more questions than answers.I haven’t read any of the previous Geraldine Steel books, so I think I was at a bit of a disadvantage here. I enjoyed the book and had no problem following it, but I had the sneaking suspicion that I would have got more out of it had I been more aware of Geraldine’s biography thus far.I read a lot of crime novels and have a particular preference for UK police procedurals so I often find myself working out who and why-dunnit before the author reveals it. This book was an exception – the plot had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing for a long way into it and the guesses that I made early on didn’t pan out. The novel is written cleverly as it starts out portraying one set of reasons for the crimes it portrays, but then takes a left-turn and ends up in completely different territory. It’s very difficult to write about this kind of book, and this book in particular, as it can be all too easy to give away the plot. However, what I can say is that the portrayal of a particular class of criminal is very different in Stop Dead than it is in other crime novels. This portrayal is more chilling than more lurid examples as it underlines the banality of this type of crime.Geraldine herself is a well-rounded character and though she has the usual personal problems that haunt fictional detectives she seems well-balanced and does not let her issues take over her working life. Her relationship with her DS is depicted with humanity and with humour. Sam and Geraldine balance each other out well – it’s good to see women portrayed so positively as professionals, and without the “all men are stupid” aspect that you find in some crime novels with female protagonists.I also thought that the more incidental characters were portrayed well and came across as real people. Crime novels don’t often bother to draw crime victims and their families with much detail, but Stop Dead is the exception and you feel that the novel could have been about any of them, had things been different.So, all in all I enjoyed the book and felt that it gave me a satisfying experience. I have a niggle however that I would have enjoyed it more had I read Geraldine’s previous adventures.

Stop Dead is the first Leigh Russell book I have read and overall I found it not great, but acceptable. I was wary coming in at book 5 in a series, but it works as a stand-alone read as well. There were, of course, the obligatory hints as to past cases and characters and relationships but not enough to annoy me.I will put my hands up and say this is not my usual type of crime fiction read. I am more a sick and twisted crime reader: early James Patterson, Val McDermid; Karin Slaughter and any and all Scandi-Crime I can come across. The more twisted the better, the more forensics and investigative detail the better. This is not that kind of book.The opening pages had me gripped, I can’t deny it, and I found the pace quite speedy. I was curious and intrigued for the first two thirds – the plot was developing and the police work was interesting (sadly only minimal description). But there was no real depth to the story, character development was excruciatingly slow, only a couple of scenes gave an insight into the killer’s mind and frankly I found some of the characters either extremely annoying or totally pointless. And I wasn’t interested in Geraldine’s family woes – she is not a great main character – she has little charisma and, in truth, is not damaged enough to be a great detective.Overall the style of writing was simplistic; the non-investigative scenes jarred and were 2-dimensional. The plot sped along and then slowly petered out and then it just stopped. Killer was caught, a formulaic and trite explanation was given as to why they were a bit screwed up and only tenuous reasoning was set out as to why the victims were victims.This didn’t stop me reading to the end - I wanted confirmation that I was right about the murderer. And I was.
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Pen
This is book 5 in a series by a well known author, how is it she can't remember her characters names? And where is her editor? Two murder victims named Henshaw and Bradshaw, silly to give such similar names which is perhaps why she refers to Bradshaw as Bradford? A peripheral character named Geoff miraculously becomes George on the next page, George being one of the dead guys. The story was interesting as were the characters. I would have given it 4 stars, but can't for an author who thinks her readers won't notice these mistakes.Its the little things Leigh Russell!
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I couldn’t believe it was yet again time for another Geraldine Steel instalment and I was even more excited than usual thanks to getting an early review copy of it. I must say the first thing I loved about this book was the cover; they are brilliant and most certainly eye catching. Geraldine Steel is a Detective Inspector who has recently relocated to London. In the last book (Death Bed) she was thrown straight into a murder investigation and this book picks up a few weeks later. Geraldine is only just getting over the paperwork involved in her last case when she is thrown straight into a new one.It all starts with the discovery of a successful businessman being found dead in his car. His death is particularly brutal and Geraldine has a lot of work on her hands. The businessman’s wife was involved in an affair so instantly becomes a suspect, as does her lover. As soon as Geraldine gets stick into the new case, the original murder victim’s business partner winds up dead although the two cases don’t seem to be related. They discover DNA which leads them only to a woman serving life in prison, and another woman who is dead.In the last book, I felt like I was getting to know a whole new host of characters what with Geraldine’s relocation. This made this current book a little easier, as we see the return of Geraldine’s colleague Sam. Although Sam is featured quite heavily, I still miss Ian Peterson who was a colleague of Geraldine’s before she moved. The last book for me focused more on Geraldine as a person and this one was the polar opposite. At the halfway mark I had decided who was the murderer, and then subsequently changed my mind at least three times! This latest Russell novel was what I would call a real murder mystery. It was all the things a mystery should be, intriguing, enthralling, tense and utterly absorbing! Although I loved this book it still wasn’t quite as good as book 3 (Dead End). There is one major sticking point for me which is the storyline regarding Geraldine’s birth mother. I’m not one for plot spoilers but I am getting impatient to find out more!!! Other than the fact that I miss Ian Peterson and her old colleagues, this latest Steel instalment was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am now eagerly awaiting the next one.
Charlotte
Stop Dead is the fifth in Leigh Russell's crime series featuring DI Geraldine Steel. When a businessman is found brutally murdered the first suspects are his wife and her younger lover but when his business partner is also found murdered the case doesn't look so easy. DI Geraldine Steel and DS Samantha Haley set out to investigate the case. The DNA evidence leads them to two women but one is dead and the other is in prison and as the bodies keep piling up it'll be a race against time to find the killer before another man is murdered.Stop Dead is a fairly easy read but I have to say I wasn't blown away. The characters are stock in trade of a lot of crime series; the clichéd, troubled Inspector, the overconfident Sergeant and the minor characters are equally uninspiring. The plot is slightly more interesting with a few surprising twists but I just didn't find it very gripping. If you like easy reading crime novel series then this will be right up your street but it wasn't my cup of tea.
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