Book Reviews

Collide-O-Scope by Andrea Bramhall at Ylva Publishing

Genre Lesbian / Contemporary / Officers of the Law / Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by A.L. Brooks on 20-April-2016

Book Blurb

An unidentified woman is found murdered on the North Norfolk Coastal Path and newly promoted Detective Sergeant Kate Brannon and Kings Lynn’s CID have the task of figuring out whom, how, and why. A job that’s made more difficult when everyone of the forty residents in the village has something to hide and answers her questions with a string of lies.

 

Georgina Temple has her own secrets to keep, and her own reasons to keep them. But her growing attraction to Kate makes it increasingly difficult to keep them.

 

Kate’s investigation into the woman’s death delves into the heart of the tiny fishing village where nothing and no one is quite what they seem.

 

Book Review

‘Collide-O-Scope’ is the sixth novel by Andrea Bramhall (author of the Lambda Award-winning ‘Clean Slate’). This is her first full police procedural novel, and it’s a genre she’s taken to like a duck to water. Set along the north Norfolk coast, an area the author has lived in for some years now, the atmosphere of that oftentimes ethereal coastline seeps into every key scene of this story. If you have never been, the descriptions will take you there; if you have been, you will recognize every nuance.

Detective Sergeant Kate Brannon has recently transferred to this (allegedly) quieter area from Norwich to take advantage of a promotion opportunity. Only three weeks into her tenure and she has a murder to investigate. Local hostel and campsite owner, Connie Wells, has been shot, out on the saltwater marshes that separate the land from the sea. At first, she seems an unlikely victim for what appears to be a targeted killing. But, of course, the more Kate delves into Connie’s life, and the lives of the forty people who live in the village, many dark and dirty secrets are revealed.

The crime story itself is well-crafted and perfectly paced—suspects come and go, motives are explored and set aside, until we are led to the crux of the matter in a way that flows very naturally. But what really struck me about this novel is the layers that Ms. Bramhall applies on top of the crime story. There are a lot of characters in there, but all are delightfully explored, for both their good and bad qualities. There are some pretty nasty people living in this fictitious village, and oh how the author has fun exploring that darker side of human nature.

There is, in perfect contrast, also a romance, between Kate and a key witness, Gina, that does not pan out as smoothly as you might expect. And that is equally enjoyable—nothing is delivered as a nice, predictable package in this tale, and it’s all the better for it. Gina’s story is explored with almost as much detail as Kate’s, and the interplay between them is a satisfying mix of tentative, flirty, and painful. Gina’s nine-year-old daughter, Sammy, is a wonderful character in her own right, and plays a key role in the entire tale. Kate herself is not—thankfully—the tough, butch, abrasive cop that we get treated to so often in lesbian crime fiction. She’s warm, scared, funny, and has a tenderness to her that really drew me in. Her interactions with her—mostly—male colleagues are sharp and witty; the dialogue is, in many places, a delight to read.

The story builds to a nicely tense finish that satisfied all my needs from this kind of novel, and I was very pleased to discover it is part one of a series featuring Kate. This is good, because although I loved this first one, I was left wanting to know more about Kate, her history, her persona, the reasons she is who she is. So I will look forward to learning more about this likeable detective and her trials and tribulations in the wilds of the north Norfolk coast when ‘Under Parr’ is published in 2017.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Ylva Publishing for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 370 pages/90000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 10-April-2016
Price $9.99 ebook
Buy Link https://www.ylva-publishing.com/product/collide-o-scope-by-andrea-bramhall/