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Thursday 8 February 2024

In Her Shadow by Emma Christie #InHerShadow @theemmachristie @welbeckpublish @CaledoniaCrime @feliciah_33 #BookReview


Dave Kellock is a pillar of the community in Portobello, Edinburgh. A tireless volunteer who never misses a chance to help others, he's just been recognised on the King's Honours List.

Dave Kellock is also a fraud. A moment of panic, violence and blood twenty years ago plagues his dreams. He's been hiding himself in Portobello, terrified that his past will catch up with him. Now that his photo has been in the paper, collecting his award, the truth won't stay buried for long.

Someone is watching Dave, at every turn, even making calls from within his own house and bringing the police to his door. The clock is ticking – he needs to find who's behind this before the police find him.

When a local teenage girl goes missing, Dave is suddenly a suspect and not only is his freedom in jeopardy but her life is too. Will he find this girl? And just how is she linked to the secret he's been keeping all these years?

In Her Shadow by Emma Christie is published on 15 February 2024 by Welbeck. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I don't think that I've read a crime novel where the lead character is a bus driver before. Dave Kellock is not just any bus driver, he is also a great man. Voted locally as an outstanding citizen, he's always in work early, he always cleans his own bus. On the whole, he's an all round nice guy. 

However, Dave has a past. He recently returned to his home city of Edinburgh after many years away in exile. He left after the tragedy that has blighted his life ever since. He's a loner, he's very tidy, he keeps himself to himself. His elderly mother has died, and he lives alone in his childhood home. 

It feels like just another day, just another driving shift for Dave, until he sees a woman get on his bus. Dave is shocked and just a little bit terrified when he sees the face of the woman that he killed twenty years ago. From this point on, Dave's life spirals out of control, and the reader is faced with as many questions as Dave is. 

Emma Christie brings Edinburgh, and especially the Portobello district to life in her writing. The reader really gets a fabulous sense of place, as we follow Dave across the city in his quest to find out more about the woman that he saw. 

It's a complex plot, that took a few turns that I really didn't expect. The story deals with grief and with guilt so very well, it's not a typical 'killer' story by any means, the reader slowly and surely learns more about Dave, and his past as the plot unravels. Accompanied by some very well drawn characters - Crystal was one of my favourites - this story will keep you turning the pages well into the night. Trying to pre-empt where the author is taking you doesn't work, the revelations and the finale are unexpected and expertly handled. 

At times emotional and powerful, this is crime fiction with a heart. Characters to cheer for in a setting that is quite gloriously created. I enjoyed this one very much. Recommended. 

Emma Christie was born and raised in a book-filled house in Cumnock, an Ayrshire coal-mining town. 

She spent five years working as a news reporter with one of the UK's top-selling regional daily newspapers, The Press and Journal. 

She lives in Barcelona with her partner, Maria Jose, and their campervan, Jarry. 

Emma can be found across social media at @theemmachristie and at

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