Title: FATAL ACT: A Detective Geraldine Steel Mystery
Author: Leigh Russell
Release Date: December 23, 2014
Publisher: Witness Impulse an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
~ Synopsis ~
After a glamorous young TV soap star dies in a car crash, all eyes are on the Detective Geraldine Steel to discover what caused the tragic accident. Another driver was involved in the collision yet seems to have miraculously walked away unscathed and has now vanished. The deceased had no obvious enemies and nothing to hide, so the investigation seems to be stalling. But when another young actress is found dead it becomes painfully clear that there is a murderer on the loose targeting beautiful, famous women. The only problem is that whoever is committing these crimes isn’t leaving any clues. With public pressure mounting, Geraldine Steel unwittingly risks her sergeant’s life in their search to track down a serial killer…
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~ Excerpt ~
“The victim was a twenty-two year old white female called Anna Porter.”
He paused and the assembled officers looked appropriately subdued on hearing how young the victim was.
“Anna Porter?” one of the constables piped up suddenly, staring at the photo of the young woman’s bloody face. “I thought I recognized her. She’s Dorothy in Down and Out, isn’t she?”
“What’s Down and Out?”
“It’s a hit series on the TV. You must have heard of it.”
Reg gave a noncommittal grunt. Several of the younger officers muttered, recognizing the actress.
“The key task is to question the driver who parked the other vehicle involved in this accident,” Reg added.
“Bloody idiot,” someone muttered.
He nodded at a sergeant who had been researching the vehicles. Anna had been driving her own white Porsche when she had crashed into a black van registered to a man called Piers Trevelyan.
“Anna and Piers lived at the same address,” the sergeant added and a murmur of interest rippled around the room.
“It’s a crime of passion!” Sam whispered.
Geraldine smiled at her young colleague’s enthusiasm.
“So,” the sergeant resumed, “the victim was living with Piers. They’d been living together for about six months.”
“That seems to be fairly conclusive then,” Reg said complacently, “let’s go and pick up the boyfriend. See what he has to say for himself, and what his van was doing parked in Ashland Place just where Anna was driving.”
Geraldine scribbled down the address as the sergeant continued.
“Anna was an actress on the TV. Her boyfriend, Piers Trevelyan, is a big shot casting director, a well known figure in the film world by all accounts. He’s worked with quite a few well known film stars, according to his website anyway. And this year he won a lifetime award for services to the British film industry.”
Reg listened, one eyebrow raised, as though skeptical about the information.
“There’s one more thing. A business card was picked up from the floor of the car: Dinah Jedway, the victim’s agent.”
“I can’t believe that’s Anna Porter,” someone commented, and a faint murmur ran round the room.
“She was so beautiful,” another voice agreed.
“I wonder what they’re going to do on Down and Out now.”
“Come on then, let’s sort this out,” Reg said firmly.
He sounded slightly agitated. The significance of the victim’s identity wasn’t lost on anyone in the room. The media was bound to go into a frenzy at the tragic death of a glamorous young celebrity. The police investigation would be a target for critics if they didn’t wrap up the case quickly.
“We need to find out what Piers Trevelyan was doing, driving the wrong way along a one way street, and leaving his van parked there so dangerously,” Geraldine said.
‘Just look at that,’ a sergeant added, gesturing at a picture of the Porsche. “It looks like she drove into a tank!”
Reg interrupted. “The front of the van was smashed in. According to the traffic officers, there’s no way anyone could have survived that impact.” He paused, frowning. “But traffic can’t believe the damage was as severe as that, if the van was stationary and the Porsche was only traveling at about twenty. They reckon it must have been travelling at least three times as fast as the speedometer indicated. That’s what aroused their suspicion in the first place. They thought there might have been something odd about it, because the car had only just turned the corner.”
They all stared at the image of a smashed up black van displayed on the board, the front of the vehicle caved in.
“We need to find out what the hell happened,” Reg added.
It seemed he didn’t quite believe it was a simple accident either.
~ Review by Angela ~
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
I like a good mystery and suspense thriller. I love being gripped by the story and not being able to figure out who the bad guy is and what their motive was. This book does not fall into that category for me. The first part of the book was decent. I wasn’t sure what was going on or what the motive was for the killing. But, about halfway through the book, maybe a little more, I had it figured out. There was no element of surprise and the ending was lackluster.
The other thing that killed this book for me was the constant internal dialogue from Geraldine about her adoption, her sister, her birth mother, etc. Some of the same points were reiterated over and over again. It was becoming tedious for me to read. When a particularly dull or long winded section came about, I skimmed through it to get on to the next part. The book wasn’t horrible; it just didn’t have the elements of mystery and suspense that I look for in a book of this genre. I give Fatal Act 3 books.
~ About the Author ~
LEIGH RUSSELL is described as “a brilliant talent” by Jeffery Deaver. CUT SHORT (2009) was shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger Award for Best First Novel. Road Closed (2010) was listed as a Top Read on Eurocrime. With Dead End (2011) Leigh’s detective Geraldine Steel was Number 1 on amazon kindle’s bestseller chart for female sleuths. Leigh Russell is the award-winning author of the Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson mysteries. She is an English teacher who lives in the UK with her family.
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