Thursday 2 July 2020

Quiet Acts of Violence by Cath Staincliffe @CathStaincliffe BLOG TOUR #QuietActsOfViolence @LittleBrownUK #BookReview

A dead baby. A missing mother. A cradle of secrets 
Has the woman killed her child? Is she at risk to herself? Someone in the neighbourhood of old terraced streets has the answers. But detectives Donna Bell and Jade Bradshaw find lies and obstruction at every turn, in a community living on the edge, ground down by austerity and no hope. A place of broken dreams. Of desperation. And murder.
When a stranger crashes into Jade's life, her past comes hurtling back, threatening to destroy her and the world she has carved out for herself.
Donna struggles to juggle everything: work, marriage, kids. It's a precarious balancing act, and the rug is about to be pulled from under her.

Quiet Acts of Violence by Cath Staincliffe is published today, 2 July 2020, in hardback by Constable. My thanks to the author who sent my copy for review and who invited me to take part on this Blog Tour.

I have been a huge fan of Cath Staincliffe's writing for many years. She's an author who never fails to produce a story that is both topical, hard hitting, yet extremely entertaining. Quiet Acts of Violence is an amazing addition to her catalogue of books, I practically inhaled it in one day. I was glued to this one.

Whilst of course, this is crime fiction at its heart, it is also a devastatingly accurate look at the state of Britain today. This author does not shy away from topics that are difficult to read about, and  her description of Colette Pritchard; the homeless woman who finds the body of a baby girl discarded in a rubbish skip that is so poignant that I had tears in my eyes. 

Colette finds the dead baby, named Rosa by the police, in what has become her bed. Previously a home owner, with direct debits to various charities and a cherry tree in her garden, Colette is now homeless; through no fault of her own. Sleeping in a skip, amongst the discarded rubbish is the safest place she can find, and it is clear that Colette feels she is no better than the food scraps and household rubbish that she sleeps amongst.

DI Donna Bell is assigned the case, assisted by DC Jade Bradshaw, and what a complex and multi layered pairing this is. Donna is organised and methodical, whilst Jade is impetuous and emotional, often veering toward the hysterical. However, both of them have their own issues to contend with and these are delicately and skilfully handled, giving such a depth to what is already an excellent plot. 

Door to door enquiries and local busybodies allow Donna and Jade to find out more than they could ever imagine, this is clearly a terrible case, and it's imperative that Rosa's mother be found soon. 

One can never imagine just what goes on behind closed doors, and the reader learns about how depraved some people can be, and also how weak others are that allow a situation to come to such a horrifying conclusion. This author also explores the gradual break-down of a mind, showing the full effect of a long-term mental health problem that spirals so quickly out of control. 

This is a powerful story, excellently written with compassion and painful honesty. Outstanding and highly recommended by me.

Cath Staincliffe is an award-winning novelist, radio playwright and creator of ITV's hit series Blue Murder. 
Cath's books have been shortlisted for the CWA Best First Novel award. 
She was joint winner of the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2012. 
Letters To My Daughter's Killer was selected for the Specsavers Crime Thriller Book Club on ITV3 in 2014. 
Cath also writes the Scott & Bailey books based on the popular ITV series. 
She lives with her family in Manchester.

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