A Suspicious Fall
Nineteen-year-old Shazia Johar has everything to live for. But when she is found critically injured after plunging from a hotel balcony, DI Robyn Bailley must determine why she fell. Was Shazia pushed or did she jump?
A Broken Woman
When Robyn’s team investigate the events that led to Shazia’s fall, they discover evidence of violence in the hotel room. What happened and who is responsible?
As Shazia’s life hangs in the balance, Robyn’s team discover the body of another hotel guest. With uncertainty and falsehood disturbing both investigations, Robyn must navigate the web of lies under continued criticism of her new identity from her ex-wife and her daughter.
Having enjoyed the first book in the DI Robyn Bailley series – He’s Gone (reviewed here), special thanks to Impress Books for agreeing my request for a copy of this book to read and review.
For those who are not familiar with this series, the central character Robyn Bailley is pre surgery male to female transgender. Once again the author continues to capture the impact this has on Robyn in everything she does. Her perpetual feelings of self consciousness and lack of confidence aren’t always easy to read about but I think are probably an accurate reflection of life for people in this position. This book builds on all the characters and for Robyn there is greater involvement of her family – her ex wife and daughter. Again this is written sensitively and in a thought provoking way in terms of some of the issues faced by transgender people.
As a piece of crime fiction, this has a decent and detailed plot with an emphasis on police procedures in terms of securing a conviction and gathering evidence, which I liked. With several investigations running parallel, linked but separate the team were busy and the story is told in the third person narrative from Robyn’s perspective. Told in this way there is a real sense throughout of Robyn’s feelings and at times as the reader I felt like I was observing uncomfortable and unpleasant situations. The story is told in ‘real time’ spanning several days covering lots of activity on each day. The chapters are reasonably short making this an easy book to continue reading. Some of the dialogue I found to be a bit stilted, not always flowing and not capturing emotional content and I think perhaps there was sometimes a mismatch between language and actions. This was irritating occasionally but didn’t have an overall impact on my reading experience which was positive with strong plot and characters.
The plot is detailed in the blurb, a woman falls off a hotel balcony, there is evidence of violence in the room she fell from resulting in a police investigation. Another guest turns up dead – both had been at the same wedding reception. There are a range of factors at play during the investigation which all create tension and pressure within the story. The ending was sharp and a complete surprise, meaning I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series.
This is a very good crime series and in Robyn we have a very different ‘boss’ persona, less confident and sure than many male lead detective characters, and always considering the differences between men and women, having consciously reached a realisation that her true gender is female despite being born male.