This is your two week warning – First Monday Crime returns on Monday 7th October! And, as always, we have a fantastic panel for you. Claire McGowan will be chatting to Nicci French (aka Nicci Gerrard and Sean French), Peter Robinson and Marnie Riches. I’ve just finished reading Marnie’s latest book, Tightrope. But before I give you my thoughts, here’s the blurb.
What happens when a private investigator ends up being the one uncovered?
Having lost everything after a failed marriage, Beverley Saunders now lodges in the basement flat of a house owned by her best friend Sophie and her husband, Tim. With Bev’s former glittering marketing career in the gutter, she begins to do investigative work for other wronged women, gathering dirt on philanderers, bosses and exes.
But when Beverley takes on the case of Sophie’s friend Angela, who is seeking to uncover grounds for divorce from her controlling husband, Jerry, the shadow Science Minister, she soon discovers that she isn’t the only one doing the investigating…
Beverley has a secret history she doesn’t want coming out – but will she manage to stay hidden long enough to give Angela the freedom she deserves?
I’ve long been a fan of Marnie Riches. Her protagonist, George McKenzie, from The Girl Who series, is one of my favourite characters ever. So it’s always a bit daunting to start reading (and I guessing writing too) a new series. It took me a little while to get used to Bev Saunders but in some ways that’s not surprising. The Bev we meet at the beginning of the book is different to the one at the end. It reminded me of Pass the Parcel. There was a very shiny piece of paper at the beginning but as we went on, the paper changed and became tabloid newspaper. Instead of prizes, secrets about Bev were revealed. Thankfully though, the gift at the end is a heart of gold. No matter what we find out about Bev, you can’t help but root for her. Which is just as well as she has a hard task on her hands.
Angie is a battered wife but not the sort normally portrayed. Her husband is an MP, a minister in the Shadow Cabinet – a powerful man with powerful contacts. Angie is desperate to leave but how can Bev help her go against such a man?
Bev has help in the form of Doc, a young man from her Addiction group. He may have a degree from Oxford but he’s also first class in computing hacking. There’s nothing he can’t do. Together they make a formidable but slightly comedic team.
Tightrope is a fast-paced twisty thriller that also made me laugh out loud. There was always humour in Marnie’s previous books but it feels as though she’s been given permission to take that ‘lol’ moment further. Some scenes are almost farcical but Marnie manages to pull them off so that the severity of the crimes aren’t forgotten. In fact, victims are always at the forefront of Marnie’s writing, especially those who don’t have a voice. And when Bev speaks up for those victims, she doesn’t just shout for them, she uses a megaphone. In fact, Bev is willing to put them before her own happiness. Her methods may be dubious and her flaws extreme but Bev Saunders has the makings of a great PI. And Marnie Riches has the beginnings of another hit series on her hands.
You can buy Tightrope here or better still, come to First Monday Crime, buy the book and get it signed. If you haven’t reserved your free seat yet then click here immediately! We look forward to seeing you in Room A130, College Building, City University, 276 St John’s Street EC1V 4PW at 6.30pm. Then afterwards we’ll be heading to The Sekforde Arms, our new pub set in a road with a Dickensian (posh not workhouse) feel to it.
Marnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in north Manchester. Exchanging the spires of nearby Strangeways prison for those of Cambridge University, she gained a Masters in German & Dutch. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist and professional fundraiser.
Her best-selling, award-winning George McKenzie crime thrillers, tackling the subject of trans-national trafficking, were inspired by her own time spent in The Netherlands. Dubbed the Martina Cole of the North, she is also the author of Born Bad and The Cover-Up – the critically acclaimed hit series about Manchester’s notorious gangland.
Tightrope is the start of a brand new series, set mainly in the famous footballer-belt of Hale, Cheshire, and introducing flawed but fearless northern PI, Bev Saunders who risks everything to fight the corner of her vulnerable client. A second Bev Saunders novel will follow in early 2020. So far, Marnie has sold an impressive 250,000 books and counting…
When she isn’t writing gritty, twisty crime-thrillers, Marnie also regularly appears on BBC Radio Manchester, commenting about social media trends and discussing the world of crime-fiction.