My enormous thanks to Jane Isaac for a copy of Presumed Guilty in return for an honest review.
It’s almost exactly three years to the day that I first featured Jane Isaac here on Linda’s Book Bag when I helped reveal the cover to Jane’s novel An Unfamiliar Murder. I reviewed Jane’s Beneath the Ashes here and have been lucky enough to meet Jane on several occasions including as part of the Deepings Literary Festival 2017 where I live. You can find out about that here. Shortly after that post I was lucky enough to review The Lies Within here and since then I was privileged to share an extract here from the first of Jane’s DC Beth Chamberlain books, After He’s Gone.
Published on 10th December 2018 Presumed Guilty is available for purchase here.
Accident or murder?
The first victim – a prominent local councillor, killed in a hit and run ‒ could be either, but the next bodies leave no doubt. A twisted killer is at large. And he’s not finished yet.
DC Beth Chamberlain, Family Liaison Officer, has to support the victims’ families, but before she can solve the crimes in the present, Beth needs to uncover the secrets of the past.
Meanwhile, the killer has her in his sights…
My Review of Presumed Guilty
One murder is just the start of a complicated investigation for Beth Chamberlain.
Although I haven’t read the first book in this series it made no difference whatsoever to my enjoyment of Presumed Guilty (except for the fact that I now really want to read it) because the background to the characters and the previous case was so skilfully woven into this narrative that I felt I had a thorough understanding of them and their personalities.
By the end of Presumed Guilty I was completely captivated by Beth in particular and I am now desperate to read any future book in the series to find out what happens next. I loved the concept of Beth as a family liaison office as this made such a refreshing change from police procedural novels where there is a hard bitten, hard drinking, cynical detective. Beth felt real and human to me with a perfect balance of strength and sensitivity that brought her alive.
Having read Jane Isaac before I was expecting a fast paced and exciting story, which I got in spades, but I also felt the quality of her writing had taken on a real poise and elegance so that I enjoyed the book even more than I had anticipated. It was the natural quality of the direct speech that worked so well for me. I could hear the conversations so vividly that I wanted to take part and put in my viewpoint too. I think it shows a successful story when I forget I’m reading fiction, but believe in the people and action completely. I also loved the settings as they are places I know well, having gone to school in Oundle and having lived in county. Reading Presumed Guilty took me right back to Northamptonshire.
The short chapters added pace and vibrancy and I thought the entire plotting from title to final full stop felt assured and masterful so that I was entertained but also impressed by the writing. I appreciated the exploration of motive behind the murders and the complex interplay of relationships that so many experience. This felt like mature and intelligent writing to me.
Presumed Guilty kept me captivated and engrossed throughout. I’m not a great fan of explicit gore and violence and prefer a novel that explores the motives behind the crimes with authority and panache which is exactly what Jane Isaac gave me in Presumed Guilty. I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it.
About Jane Isaac
Jane Isaac lives with her detective husband (very helpful for research!) and her daughter in rural Northamptonshire, UK where she can often be found trudging over the fields with her Labrador, Bollo. Her debut, An Unfamiliar Murder, was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.’ The follow up, The Truth Will Out, was nominated as ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014’ by E-Thriller.com.
After He’s Gone is Jane’s sixth novel and the first in a new series featuring Family Liaison Officer, DC Beth Chamberlain. The second DC Beth Chamberlain novel will be released later in 2018.