Detective Inspector Robin Lyons is going home.
Dismissed for misconduct from the Met’s Homicide Command after refusing to follow orders, unable to pay her bills (or hold down a relationship), she has no choice but to take her teenage daughter Lennie and move back in with her parents in the city she thought she’d escaped forever at 18.
In Birmingham, sharing a bunkbed with Lennie and navigating the stormy relationship with her mother, Robin works as a benefit-fraud investigator – to the delight of those wanting to see her cut down to size.
Only Corinna, her best friend of 20 years seems happy to have Robin back. But when Corinna’s family is engulfed by violence and her missing husband becomes a murder suspect, Robin can’t bear to stand idly by as the police investigate. Can she trust them to find the truth of what happened? And why does it bother her so much that the officer in charge is her ex-boyfriend – the love of her teenage life?
As Robin launches her own unofficial investigation and realises there may be a link to the disappearance of a young woman, she starts to wonder how well we can really know the people we love – and how far any of us will go to protect our own.
Critical Incidents is a strong start to a new crime series by Lucie Whitehouse featuring former detective inspector Robin Lyons, whose backstory really pulled me into this story. I absolutely loved Lucie’s writing which was very immersive, if you enjoy crime fiction with a literary edge, then this is a book for you.
As I mentioned at the start, I was really intrigued by Robin’s backstory. She has recently been dismissed from the Metropolitan police in for misconduct and is back in her hometown and living with her parents, along with her teenage daughter. Robin has taken on a job at a private detective agency, a business owned by a family friend. And things aren’t set to get any better for Robin when one of her closest friends is killed in a house fire which the police believe was an act of foul play. Desperate for answers Robin tries to get to the bottom of what happened and in doing so uncovers some uncomfortable truths about the family who she thought she knew inside and out. It appears that everyone has secrets.
Lucie’s writing really makes this book a page-turner. Although I wouldn’t describe the book as fast paced, I became engaged very quickly. I wanted to find out who was responsible for the house fire and what the reasons behind starting the blaze were and the reasons behind this were shocking. Lucie creates a very complex investigation that also draws close to Robin’s own case she is working on, that of a young woman who has gone missing in the local area. What makes this novel so interesting is that because Robin is no longer working in the police, she can sometimes draw more information out of suspects and witnesses than perhaps the police can as they may feel more comfortable talking to her.
Robin’s emotions come through very strongly as she tries to understand what has happened to her friend and things certainly don’t get any easier for her as the story progresses. There was one point where I was thinking, just how on earth was she going to get out of this okay.
This is the first book I have read by Lucie Whitehouse, and it definitely won’t be my last. Critical Incidents is an engaging and a totally immersive read. It comes highly recommended from me.
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Publication date: 18th April 2019
Print length: 400 pages
If you would like to purchase Critical Incidents, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.