“There was something addictive about his guilt. He savoured it in secret moments. He assured himself it was harmless. No one else was ever going to find out…”“Deep Cover”, by Leigh Russell
“Deep Cover” by Leigh Russell is the sixteenth book in the successful Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel series, which began with “Cut Short” in 2009 and was short-listed for the Crime Writers’ Association New Blood Dagger award (for the best crime novels by first-time authors).
The opening of this book immediately plunges us into a new case, with DI Geraldine Steel working with newly transferred DS Matthew Bailey on the suspicious death of Pansy Banks; a sex worker known to her clients as Luscious. In a desperate attempt to avoid being held responsible, her killer has dumped her body in the woods where she is soon discovered by the inevitable group of ramblers (I wonder how often walking groups suffer this in real life – it certainly afflicts them frequently in fiction!). But the killer’s problems are only just beginning, as he receives an anonymous note stating “I know what you did”…
Meanwhile, DI Ian Peterson is playing his own dangerous game down in London. Recently split from Geraldine following his actions in the previous novel “Evil Impulse”, he is now working undercover with the drug squad. As Ian continues he gets drawn deeper into a potentially fatal double game; trying to reconcile his own plan with that of the undercover team, who are none the wiser that Ian has a mission of his own to win back Geraldine.
This is a cracking read in the crime thriller genre. The story is told from three points of view; Geraldine, investigating the murder of two women in as many weeks in York; Ian, taking on dangerous undercover work with the drug squad in London; and Thomas, whose efforts to keep secrets from his wife spiral quickly out of control. I found Thomas to be a really interesting character – the author brilliantly portrays his panic, denial and descent into delusion as the book progresses.
Having not read any of the previous books in the series, I really enjoyed DI Geraldine Steel as the main protagonist. Geraldine is hugely skilled and dedicated to her job, but far from perfect; balancing her own demons (anger with Ian, fear of loneliness, frustration with the case) as she tries to unearth the killer. I look forward to getting to know her more.
Although “Deep Cover” obviously contains some spoilers for the previous titles in the series – with the relationships, actions and their consequences of the earlier books continuing to play out – I was able to enjoy it immensely as a stand-alone even though I’ve not read the earlier books (yet!). That being said, if you’re a fan of police procedurals and crime thrillers and haven’t yet come across this series, it would probably make sense to start at the beginning – I’m sure I’m going to find plenty there to enjoy!
“Deep Cover” was released in the UK on 24th August 2021. Many thanks to NetGalley, the publishers No Exit Press, and of course the author for providing an ebook copy.
Published: 24th August 2021