Definitely Dead by Kate Bendelow
Kate Bendelow already has an impressive pedigree in crime. She works as a scene of crime officer (SOCO) or crime scene investigator (CSI) with Greater Manchester Police and is a noted lecturer and public speaker explaining the specifics of her job. She has also written essential reading for any crime writer in her nonfiction book, The Real CSI: A Forensic Handbook for Crime Writers. When I heard that Kate had delved into the world of crime fiction, I had to read the results, Definitely Dead.
Maya Barton has just embarked on her dream job as a scene of crime officer. When she attends her first death the post-mortem deems it to be non-suspicious and the case is closed. But despite the lack of evidence, she suspects a crime has been committed.
When Maya is called to another apparent sudden death her reservations resurface. She is convinced a killer is on the loose; a killer who has evaded suspicion until now, but Maya's series of mistakes alienate those around her. Can Maya catch a killer and escape from her troubled past, or will the skeletons from her closet come back to haunt her? Who can Maya really trust? And who will make it out alive....
This is the first novel in what I understand is to be a trilogy featuring the main character, Maya Barton. Maya is an excellent, original character who is both determined and fallible. It is interesting to read the story from the CSI perspective rather than the more usual detective or private investigator's point of view.
The reader quickly learns that Maya is new to her dream job as a CSI but she carries a guilty secret that might have prevented her from being accepted for the role at all. She also speaks her mind and this trait often causes her problems.
However, she has an eye for crime and detail, therefore, despite her colleagues scepticism she is convinced that a series of recent deaths are murders, not accidents or suicides as her superiors think. Also, the police are in the middle of an operation to catch two rival gangster. Maya has a suspicion that this is connected to the deaths. Then she meets a man she has feelings for but has doubts as to whether she can trust him. She also has concerns about one of her colleagues but does not know in whom she can confide.
The most interesting thing about this book is the author's professional expertise. It is clear throughout the book but unfortunately this is allowed to slow down the action in some scenes. Having said that, I found the usually untold details interesting, largely because I write crime!
This book is well written and the main character carries the story with ease. I think it would work well as a book for a book group because of the several subplots. I enjoyed Definitely Dead, as I suspected I would and recommend it to those who enjoy original crime fiction.
I am the author of The Real CSI: A Forensic Handbook for Crime Writers. I also deliver presentations on the same subject to crime writers. I hope you find The Real CSI a useful resource.
Bloodhound Books are the publishers behind the SOCO Maya Barton trilogy. It’s crime fiction with a twist, as the main protagonist is a scene of crime office rather than a detective. The first two books in the series are Definitely Dead and Shattered Bones and are perfect for you if you’re interested in forensics crime scene investigation.
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