A blaze at an abandoned chapel in impoverished Manorclough turns out to be more than just arson when the body of a man who has been shot twice is discovered in the ashes. For the Manchester Metropolitan police team it’s the start of a gruelling and complex case that exposes the fractures and fault lines of a community living on the edge. DC Rachel Bailey, recently married, is trying to come to terms with her new status and deal with the fallout from her chaotic family. She throws herself into work but her compulsion to find answers and see justice done leads her into the deepest jeopardy. DC Janet Scott’s world is shaken to its foundations when death comes far too close for comfort and she finds one of her daughters on the wrong side of a police investigation. DCI Gill Murray’s ex Dave, a Chief Superintendent, crashes back into her life, out of control and bringing chaos in his wake. Gill attempts to get Dave to face the truth of his situation, and to stay the hell away from her, but things are about to get a whole lot worse. And then a second building goes up in flames…


‘a cracker of a story, brilliantly told, unfolding at just the right pace, and with just the right amount of shocks and alarm calls along the way – a total pleasure to read’

‘superbly-crafted and compelling … it will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final page, and then leave you wanting more’

‘cracking crime novel fizzing with action and energy … this novel is dynamite’

‘a very human, and realistic story’

‘Brilliant police procedural. Excellent characterisations. Great sense of place. Strong gutsy female protagonists. Desperate criminals. What more could you want?’ Reading, Writing and Riesling

‘Staincliffe is among the most productive of crime writers, but that does not alter the fact that she is one of the most imaginative and consistent in the field. That’s very much the case with her latest Scott and Bailey novel, in which she develops Britain’s answer to female cop team Cagney and Lacey with impressive new levels of psychological depth’  The Good Book Guide

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