Morag, “Mo”, has it all. A happy-go-lucky, free-spirited student and martial arts enthusiast, she’s on top of the world until she finds Cindy beaten and bloodied in the graveyard – ultimately shining a light into unknown shadows of her own childhood.

Cindy, eighteen with her whole future in front of her, has lost it all. One victim of many in a brutal string of sex crimes that has swept their corner of South East England, the experience leaves her shaken, before revealing secrets she’d kept even from herself. Despite the support of her rich and successful older friend, Faye, who has troubles of her own, Cindy sinks deeper into despair.

As Detective Chief Inspector Colin Massey, Mo’s father, heads the special task force investigating the sex crimes, another girl goes missing. Her boyfriend, Johnny, begins to hear her voice in his head. Driven to the edge of his sanity, he teeters between reality and the beyond. As their four journeys collide in an explosion of violence, love and betrayal, the principle questions are, who can they trust? And, is the face of the person looking back at them masking the identity of a killer?

A Trade in Tears

I really want to give it 4 stars or at least 3.5 but I have a couple of major reservations. Firstly though, let me say that this was an excellent story, well thought out and well crafted. A lot of research must have gone into it, from the emotions of the characters (you couldn’t just imagine this) to the sex trafficking and the hideous crimes that are committed against the women and young girls. Also the police work must have been thoroughly researched to be so realistic.

So why not 4 stars? Two reasons. Quite a way into the book there were some grisly scenes that I thought took the story into different territory and were unnecessary. Maybe that’s just me but they didn’t enhance the story. I can’t say more because of spoilers but if (hopefully when) you read it you’ll know which part I mean. The second reason is strange for me because I am a huge fan of magical realism and the supernatural but I think the cross-genre here from a straight-forward and exciting crime thriller/police procedural to Johnny hearing the voice of his murdered girlfriend telling him what to do didn’t entirely work. Again it wasn’t necessary.

However, it’s a cracking story so don’t let me put you off. I just personally think it’s a cracking story without those two elements but you can judge for yourselves.

Thank you Samantha for giving me the opportunity to review your book. Really enjoyed it.

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