About Me

Tollesbury, Essex, United Kingdom
I was born in the Summer of 1969 in Dagenham, just on the border of East London. School was largely unproductive but enjoyable, setting me up for something of a wayward but interesting life! On leaving school I had various jobs including putting up stalls at Romford Market, working in a record shop, putting up ceilings, gardening and road sweeping. After resigning from an insurance company to play in a band, I found myself unemployed for two years. Then finally I got back on my feet and I've been a psychiatric nurse since 1997. I wrote A Cleansing of Souls when I was 22 years old and followed it up with Tollesbury Time Forever almost twenty years later. I started writing The Bird That Nobody Sees in September 2011 and it was released in July 2012. In terms of writing, my heroes are Jack Kerouac and John Steinbeck. I would also include Kris Kristofferson, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits as literary influences. So that's me I guess - scruffy, happy and in love with literary fiction, music and life...

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A Review of A Pauper's Shroud by Leon Steelgrave

A Pauper's Shroud follows a police investigation into the murder of an eight year old girl in Inverness, Scotland, focusing primarily on the three officers involved in the case: a newly promoted female Detective Inspector, an 'old school' Detective Sergeant and a new recruit to CID prone to panic attacks.

I must begin by saying that I am not used to reading detective/murder novels so this was quite a first for me. I saw an interview with the author on a blog and thought he came across as such an interesting chap I would check out his work!

The author has gone to great lengths in providing the details of how the police force in Inverness conduct murder investigations. There is almost a documentary feel to some of the scenes which is a testament to the depth of knowledge the author has on the subject which adds greatly to the sense of realism of the novel. The main characters, and indeed the more minor ones, are very well drawn and certainly reveal very human flaws regardless of their profession, rank or background.

With regard to the writing itself, the descriptions of various locations is very impressive, whether it be Loch Ness, the local dives, the grounds of an abandoned hospital or the various rooms and offices of the Police Station. These detailed descriptions along with the three-dimensional characters certainly draw the reader into the novel and go a long way to explaining its appeal.

In terms of the plot, I won't be giving anything away in this review. Suffice to say the strands are cleverly woven together to produce an ending that, in keeping with the raw realism of the rest of the novel, is satisfying.

So any negatives? These are of course purely my personal opinion and must be understood in the context of my not having been drawn to reading detective/police novels before. I found the pace very good to begin with in terms of getting to know the characters, the background story, the area etc but this pace did not really change throughout the whole novel. There was no quickening towards the final denouement hence when the killer is revealed it is done in quite a matter of fact way. I have mentioned several times how realistic the novel appears to be so perhaps the ending is very much part of that realism and should not be seen in a less than positive light. Detective work, by all accounts, is not as exciting as it appears in films or on the telly, and this fact is mentioned at times by some of the characters. My only other minor criticism would be that at times the reader is told how characters feel about society, each other, their jobs etc rather than shown by way of a scene or a piece of dialogue - when these scenes/dialogues do occur they are sometimes backed up by clarification in the narrative that does sometimes feel a little clunky and didactic.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I was very much impressed by both its structure and the care the author has taken in presenting a thoroughly realistic world in which to set his story. The characters are believable and do not at any time fall into caricature.

I highly recommend this novel to readers of this genre.

You can download the novel from Amazon here:

UK Amazon - A Pauper's Shroud

US Amazon - A Pauper's Shroud

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