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Hello, you’ve reached the website of Manchester based, crime writer Cath Staincliffe. I’m the author of the Sal Kilkenny private eye stories and creator and scriptwriter of Blue Murder, ITV’s hit detective drama starring Caroline Quentin as DCI Janine Lewis. I write the Scott & Bailey books, based on the much loved ITV1 police series. My standalone titles, psychological fiction, explore the lives of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events. Thank you to everyone who has borrowed, bought or downloaded one of my books. Happy reading.

Running Out Of Road

I’m absolutely delighted with the reception that Running Out of Road has received. The story describes  a race against time, played out in the brooding wilderness, the limestone gorges and gritstone edges of the Peak District. At the heart of it is eleven-year-old Scarlett, who is abducted and driven up into the hills, with the police in hot pursuit. Scarlett’s path collides with that of others. Ron has made a living as a house and pet sitter since quitting his career on the front line in the fire service. Dylan’s a ‘cuckoo’, dealing drugs on the county line, moving from nest to nest, picking out people who daren’t say no. One step ahead of the law. So far.

The action unfolds over a few hours on a wretched February evening, as Storm Dennis barrels in from the north bringing floods and ensuing chaos.

And here’s what reviewers are saying about it:

‘Staincliffe excels herself here with the story of a teenage girl abducted by her real father, who is on the police’s wanted list … the anguish behind life’s tragedies reveals itself in this harrowing but human drama’ Daily Mail

‘Moodily gripping’ Peterborough Telegraph

‘I was hooked from start to finish … a fab fast paced crime thriller… She’s made the Peak District character in itself’ A Knights Reads

‘Dark, visceral and compelling … complex, multi-layered and intelligent crime fiction … a superbly written crime novel and a high stakes emotional drama from a writer who always pushes the envelope and never fails to deliver’ Bookish Jottings

‘Cath Staincliffe’s writing is wonderful, bringing the brooding wilderness of the Peak District vividly to life. With fascinating characters and a gripping storyline’ Cal Turner Reviews

‘Another superb story from Cath Staincliffe’ Compulsive Readers

‘A complex, tense and absolutely gripping read’ Crime Book Junkie

‘She excels at showing what the impact of a crime has on everyone involved’ Crime Pieces

‘Kudos to the author for bringing out an Asian cop’s insecurities so well’ Debjani’s Thoughts

‘The beautiful Peak District is the backdrop for the latest novel by Cath Staincliffe, a gripping cat and mouse chase that brings together some brilliantly crafted characters’ My Chestnut Reading Tree

‘It starts with a bang as it means to go on and from the beginning the pace is relentless’ Portable Magic

‘Staincliffe is an incredible talent. Her writing moves with such a pace, unexpected twists to catch the reader out, and wonderfully created characters who leap from the pages. The reader lives and breathes alongside them. Powerful, gripping and ultimately satisfying. This is going to be up there in my top books of the year, without a doubt’ Random Things Through My Letterbox

‘A tightly plotted crime story with fascinating characters’ Short Book and Scribes

‘Each and every character on the page keeps you guessing, and you root for them all in totally different ways – not a single word or emotion is wasted on the page’ The Glass House

Running out of Road

Running Out of Road, coming in July, is a race against time, played out in the brooding wilderness, the limestone gorges and gritstone edges of the Peak District. It’s the story of eleven-year-old Scarlett, who has survived a great loss, is full of dreams for the future and a passion to protect the planet, when she is abducted and driven up into the hills, with the police in hot pursuit.

Scarlett’s path collides with that of others. Ron has made a living as a house and pet sitter since quitting his career on the front line in the fire service. He’s currently looking after a place deep in the Derbyshire Peaks. The solitude suits him. And managing animals is so much simpler than coping with other people. Dylan’s a ‘cuckoo’, dealing drugs on the county line, moving from nest to nest, picking out people who daren’t say no. Keeping his head down, one step ahead of the law. So far. But now everything’s falling apart.

The action unfolds over a few hours on a wretched February evening, as Storm Dennis barrels in from the north bringing floods and ensuing chaos.

Writing Running out of Road during lockdown, when I could no longer go walking in the hills, allowed me to escape there in my imagination, and become engrossed in Scarlett’s adventure. And I do hope you’ll get the same pleasure from reading it as I did writing it.

Available on offer to pre-order now.

Have You Read…

A new batch of recommendations from me. Superb storytellers whose books made me marvel, made me laugh and cry, hold my breath and – at the end of one of them – shout out loud. Happy reading!

November Road by Lou Berney

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Tangerine by Christine Mangan

The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler

The Binding by Bridget Collins

Three-Fifths by John Vercher

Writers & Lovers by Lily King

How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang

Body Language by A. K. Turner

Quiet Acts of Violence

‘Jade was buzzing, little shocks and fizzes of adrenalin sparking through her blood. Always the way when they were called to a death. The end of everything for somebody. The start of something for Jade.’

Quiet Acts of Violence is out in paperback now. Also available as an ebook and audiobook.

Quiet Acts of Violence sees the return of DI Donna Bell and DC Jade Bradshaw, the detectives from The Girl in the Green Dress. But you don’t have to have read that book to enjoy this one. In Quiet Acts of Violence they are investigating the death of a newborn baby and hunting for her missing mother. The background to the novel is the landscape of austerity and inequality, the terrible poverty it has resulted in, the immiserating effects on people’s everyday lives. It’s something I’ve been even more acutely aware of seeing the toll of coronavirus on our poorest, most disadvantaged communities and disproportionately affecting BAME and disabled people. We have learned how dependent we are on each other, and how much we rely on those in low paid and insecure work for many of our most essential services.

Donna and Jade are two very different characters. Donna is white, middle-aged and married with a large family. She is a skilled professional, a steady hand on the tiller and one who will give her all for the victims of the crimes she investigates. Jade is in her twenties, of Pakistani and Irish parentage, and has overcome a very difficult childhood to find a role as a police officer. Jade is often impulsive, impatient to get results. She’s also vulnerable, sometimes besieged by the demons from her past and the trauma she carries. I’ve loved spending more time with Donna and Jade in the writing of this novel and hope to come back to them again before too long. Meanwhile – happy reading. (Though if you weep that’s even better).

‘Timely and smart’ Crime Monthly

‘Strong, damaged, lippy northern female police officers — edgy Jade and stressed Donna do not disappoint … Ordinary people are made to matter, as the case reveals some difficult truths’ Sunday Times Crime Club

‘Staincliffe is one of the few authors who can combine political anger with great entertainment and somehow never lose sight of either’ Morning Star

‘Moving and sad … and has all the pace and suspense of a good police procedural’ Ann Cleeves

‘A topical, emotionally charged and compelling story’ Compulsive Readers

‘Combines excellent writing with a clear-eyed view of contemporary issues’ CRIMEPIECES

‘A powerful story, excellently written with compassion and painful honesty. Outstanding’ Random Things Through My Letterbox

Head in a Book

I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t read. It’s such a pleasure to be able to escape everything and journey to new places. Here are some books I’ve really enjoyed over the past few months. A bit of all sorts. Happy reading!

Amity and Sorrow by Peggy Riley

The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood

The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

Only You by S. Williams

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller

Sister by Rosamund Lupton

Fifty-Fifty by Steve Cavanagh

The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett

New Year New Reads

One of the enduring comforts over the last year has been finding and enjoying wonderful stories. Several of these titles featured in my #FridayReads recommendations on Twitter. I hope you’ll find something here to transport you, entertain, amuse or move you. Happy reading!

Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham

Spring by Ali Smith

The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey

The Flight by Julie Clark

The Guest Book by Sarah Blake

Blackwood by Michael Farris Smith

The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett

Expectation by Anna Hope

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor

 

Escape Into A Good Book

Good news for book lovers – indie bookshops throughout the UK have joined together to launch Bookshop.org so you can order books online and support local shops during lockdown – and beyond. You can also borrow eBooks and eAudiobooks from libraries through the BorrowBox scheme.

What to choose? Here are some of my recent favourites – and among them is the book I’ve enjoyed best of all in 2020 (jointly along with Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell). Can you guess which it is?

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

A Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

Cruel Acts by Jane Casey

Confession with Blue Horses by Sophie Hardach

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

 

Quiet Acts of Violence – Waiting for the Verdict

It is always nerve-wracking waiting for responses to a new book but I think this year has been even more challenging for many of us (me included) as my latest title came out during the pandemic when live events weren’t possible, bookshops and libraries were closed and distribution centres working at seriously reduced capacity. And we were all dealing with the shock and disruption and the awful reality of coronavirus.

I was very pleased to have support and help from some wonderful book bloggers including Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers who designed a lovely blog tour banner for me (after getting a glimpse of my own pitiful attempt!) Early reviews from these bloggers were a real boost: ‘a topical, emotionally charged and compelling story’ Compulsive Readers; ‘combines excellent writing with a clear-eyed view of contemporary issues’ CRIMEPIECES; ‘A powerful story, excellently written with compassion and painful honesty. Outstanding’ Random Things Through My Letterbox; ‘An unputdownable read, this story delivers on all levels’ Karen’s Book Bag.

And these lovely reactions came in from the press: ‘Strong, damaged, lippy northern female police officers — edgy Jade and stressed Donna do not disappoint … Ordinary people are made to matter, as the case reveals some difficult truths’ Sunday Times Crime Club and ‘Staincliffe is one of the few authors who can combine political anger with great entertainment and somehow never lose sight of either’ Morning Star.

So a big thank you to everyone who has reviewed, bought, borrowed or downloaded Quiet Acts of Violence. And a big cheer to those who encouraged me to revisit the detectives from The Girl in the Green Dress. I hope to return to Donna and Jade again before so very long.  

Ten Top Titles

It’s been a couple of months since I posted some recommendations (though I regularly shout about #FridayReads on Twitter). Here are ten suggestions for your delectation. Happy reading.

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Black Car Burning by Helen Mort

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

We Don’t Die of Love by Stephen May

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

Splinter in the Blood by Ashley Dyer

Fires in the Dark by Louise Doughty

Real Tigers by Mick Herron

Quiet Acts of Violence

‘Jade was buzzing, little shocks and fizzes of adrenalin sparking through her blood. Always the way when they were called to a death. The end of everything for somebody. The start of something for Jade.’

Quiet Acts of Violence sees the return of DI Donna Bell and DC Jade Bradshaw, the detectives from The Girl in the Green Dress. But you don’t have to have read that book to enjoy this one. In Quiet Acts of Violence they are investigating the death of a newborn baby and hunting for her missing mother. The background to the novel is the landscape of austerity and inequality, the poverty it has resulted in, the effects on people’s everyday lives. It’s something I’m even more acutely aware of now as we see the toll of coronavirus on our poorest, most disadvantaged communities and disproportionately affecting BAME people. We have learned how dependent we are on each other, and how much we rely on those in low paid and insecure work for many of our most essential services.

Donna and Jade are two very different characters. Donna is white, middle-aged and married with a large family. She is a skilled professional, a steady hand on the tiller and one who will give her all for the victims of the crimes she investigates. Jade is in her twenties, of Pakistani and Irish parentage, and has overcome a very difficult childhood to find a role as a police officer. Jade is often impulsive, impatient to get results. She’s also vulnerable, sometimes besieged by the demons from her past and the trauma she carries. I’ve loved spending more time with Donna and Jade in the writing of this novel and hope to come back to them again before too long. Meanwhile – happy reading. (Though if you weep that’s even better).