What I'm Reading
This is a crime novel set in Bradford and is the first in a series featuring a detective whose troubled family is as involved with the law as much as she is. It features everything connected to inner-city living: drugs, violence, poverty, ethnic diversity and the social norms connected with these.
At first it appears that too many boxes are ticked. Single mothers, domestic violence, gay Muslims...but as the characters unfurl it becomes obvious that this is a genuine slice of Yorkshire life in an intense community. There may be a serial killer at large who has operated over several decades, and the obvious references to Peter Sutcliffe, known as the Yorkshire Ripper, are acknowledged as any reader would surely make the connection.
The central character has her own family issues that are as enthralling as the police case she is working on, fused together so that the story reads as one element. It is a non-stop, breathless journey, descriptive without being, at any time, bland. Full of notable and sympathetic characters and just as many vile ones who show their vulnerabilities in juxtaposition with their criminality.
All in all, this book is brave in its unpleasantness and shows great resolve in its warmth and sense of family and belonging. I look forward to reading the next book - after a rest. Recommended.