Without Trace by Leigh Russell: tension ratchets up with each turn of the page – book review -

When a young woman is found close to death, and encased in earth and twigs on a pavement in a sleepy town near York, it looks to the police like she had escaped from a living grave.
Without Trace by Leigh RussellWithout Trace by Leigh Russell
Without Trace by Leigh Russell

Soon the woman’s death sparks a murder inquiry and D.I. Geraldine Steel, one of the most experienced police detectives in rural Woolmarsh, is in a race against time to catch the ruthless killer.

Welcome to the gripping new thriller in CWA Debut Dagger Award judge and Consultant Royal Literary Fellow Leigh Russell’s bestselling Geraldine Steel series set in York and London and starring one of the fictional crime world’s most fierce, dependable and highly committed sleuths.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

With fearless determination and unwavering tenacity, Geraldine unravels twisted mysteries, battles personal demons, and is willing to confront brutal killers threatening to disrupt the rural peace of her world... and her baffling new case will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

‘She opened her mouth to scream, but he slapped something across her lips. The gag tasted of salt and mould, rough sacking on her tongue. With a terrifying certainty, she knew she was going to die.’

DI Geraldine Steel knows people go missing all the time, and sometimes that’s because they don’t want to be found. So when her partner Ian, a fellow detective, asks her to look into the disappearance of his football buddy’s girlfriend, Lucy Henderson, her first instinct is to reassure him there’s no need for concern. But then she’s called to a suspected murder and all her instincts tell her she’s right about the identity of the victim... it is indeed missing Lucy.

She has earth and leaf mould and fragments of twigs in her long fair hair, her nose, her mouth, under her finger nails, and clinging to her clothes, and yet she was found on the pavement, at the side of a suburban road, where she wasn’t in contact with any soil or mud.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Without a crime scene, the investigation focuses on her boyfriend but Ian insists his friend is incapable of murder, and Geraldine is torn. Without evidence, she knows their case is weak but can she let a possible killer go free?

Geraldine needs to find out what really happened. Where did the assault occur, why are there traces of DNA from two other unidentified sources on the body, what reason could there be to attack a popular young woman who never did anyone any harm, and why bury her body so carelessly that she was able to escape?

Then another young woman is reported missing. Unless their chief suspect has an accomplice, the police have an innocent man in custody. And Geraldine is running out of time...

Russell delivers her trademark authentic police procedural skills and devilishly clever plotting as this mind-bending, high stakes case takes some unexpected twists and turns, and the tension ratchets up with each turn of the page.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Although the Geraldine Steel series has been running successfully – and selling a million copies worldwide – over the last ten years or more, each book can easily be read as a gripping standalone and are guaranteed thrill rides for all crime fans.

(No Exit Press, paperback, £9.99)

Related topics: