I had never read anything by Paul Kane, but Her Husband's Grave was on sale and the blurb sounded interesting, so I thought I'd take a chance because it was a murder mystery and that is one of my favourite genres.
Criminal psychologist Robyn Adams is at breaking point after a previous case resulted in an attempt on her own life. But as she sits in the car about to head home, her phone rings. It’s Robyn’s cousin, Vicky Carter, who she hasn’t seen or heard from in years.
Vicky’s voice cracks down the phone. Her husband, Simon, has been found buried on Golden Sands beach. Desperate to help and determined not to let her last case get the better of her, Robyn returns to the coastal village where she spent summers with Vicky as a child.
Robyn knows that she has let Vicky down in the past and is set on making up for lost time. Throwing herself into the case, she combs through evidence, intent on discovering a lead that will help the local police.
But there is clearly someone who wants Robyn gone. She is convinced someone is watching her and when she begins to receive threatening notes, Robyn knows that she could be risking her life…
But Robyn won’t leave again – she owes it to Vicky to stay.
The book starts with the discovery of a body on the beach and then shifts to the return of the main character, Robyn, to her home town and her family to try to find out what happened and why.
Robyn has a fractured relationship with her cousin Vicky, so when she gets a call to help and support her when her husband's body is found, she jumps at the chance to investigate the crime and mend the broken fences.
Robyn is a criminal psychologist who regulary works with her local police force and has helped them solve many cases, some of which have been high profile, so her presence in this case fuels press interest and is resented by many officers on the local force.
Both Robyn and Vicky drink heavily and both discover things from their past that affect their relationship. There was a great deal of narrative about the relationship between Robyn and a married police officer in her local force. I did not feel that advanced this story at all.
There is also a local spa with links to Vicky's husband's death and another victim. The scenes with Robyn visiting the spa to try to find evidence anr interesting and exciting. However, on the whole, I found this novel a bit more tedious than I had hoped. I would not rush to read another work by this author, but neither would I actively avoid his novels. Unusually, I am somewhat ambivalent about this book.
Paul Kane is the award-winning, bestselling author and editor of over a hundred books – including the Arrowhead trilogy (gathered together in the sellout Hooded Man omnibus, revolving around a post-apocalyptic version of Robin Hood), The Butterfly Man and Other Stories, Hellbound Hearts, The Mammoth Book of Body Horror and Pain Cages (an Amazon #1 bestseller).
His non-fiction books include The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy and Voices in the Dark, and his genre journalism has appeared in the likes of SFX, Rue Morgue and DeathRay. He has been a Guest at Alt.Fiction five times, was a Guest at the first SFX Weekender, at Thought Bubble in 2011, Derbyshire Literary Festival and Off the Shelf in 2012, Monster Mash and Event Horizon in 2013, Edge-Lit in 2014 and 2018, HorrorCon, HorrorFest and Grimm Up North in 2015, The Dublin Ghost Story Festival and Sledge-Lit in 2016, IMATS Olympia and Celluloid Screams in 2017, plus Black Library Live and the UK Ghost Story Festival in 2019, as well as being a panellist at FantasyCon and the World Fantasy Convention, and a fiction judge at the Sci-Fi London festival.
A former British Fantasy Society Special Publications Editor, he is currently serving as co-chair for the UK chapter of The Horror Writers Association. His work has been optioned and adapted for the big and small screen, including for US network primetime television, and his novelette ‘Men of the Cloth’ has just been turned into a feature by Loose Canon/Hydra Films, starring Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, You’re Next). His audio work includes the full cast drama adaptation of The Hellbound Heart for Bafflegab, starring Tom Meeten (The Ghoul), Neve McIntosh (Doctor Who) and Alice Lowe (Prevenge), and the Robin of Sherwood adventure The Red Lord for Spiteful Puppet/ITV narrated by Ian Ogilvy (Return of the Saint).
Paul’s latest novels are Lunar (set to be turned into a feature film), the Y.A. story The Rainbow Man (as P.B. Kane), the sequels to RED – Blood RED & Deep RED – the award-winning hit Sherlock Holmes & the Servants of Hell, Before (an Amazon Top 5 dark fantasy bestseller) and Arcana.
He also writes thrillers for HQ Digital/HarperCollins as PL Kane, the first of which, Her Last Secret, came out in January 2020 (www.plkane.com). Paul lives in Derbyshire, UK, with his wife Marie O’Regan and his family. Find out more at his site www.shadow-writer.co.uk which has featured Guest Writers such as Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Charlaine Harris, Robert Kirkman, Dean Koontz and Guillermo del Toro.