PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY US (starred title)
This tense and compelling narrative introduces an extraordinary new mystery protagonist. A wide variety of characters come seamlessly together to advance the fast-paced, twisty narrative. Russell paints a careful and intriguing portrait of a small British community while developing a compassionate and complex heroine who's sure to win fans.
The story is not noir; it's a police procedural, and a very good one. Leigh Russell's first novel, Cut Short, is a complex, multi-layered, extremely well-structured, and involving police procedural. The plot of Cut Short moves rapidly, with new victims, witnesses, suspects, and sub-plots. All fit together tightly, pulling the reader into the story.
This is an excellent book--the kind one might read for hours on a winter evening before a roaring fire. Russell pulls the reader into an intense involvement with DI Geraldine Steele, the other characters, the town of Woolmarsh, and the search for the killer. Truly a great start for new mystery author Leigh Russell.
The prose is sharp and eminently readable. The chapters are short, encouraging the reader to sample just one more before bedtime, and the characterization - although nothing out of the ordinary - is pithy and believable. Steel herself is a likeable central character, and the fact that women are in danger adds piquancy to the plot and heightens the drama in an excellent debut. If Russell can build on it for her next Steel book, Road Closed, this will be a series well worth keeping tabs on.
CUT SHORT has been reprinted for the 2nd time in six months and is in UK bookstores and on amazon. update amazon.com sold out again one week after restocking (!) 500 more copies on the way. Might be best to preorder before they sell out again...