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Death Bed is the 4th DI Geraldine Steel book by Leigh Russell. I usually don’t start a book anywhere but at the first in the series, however as I joined the book tour for this author’s novel, there wasn’t enough time to read the previous 3 books. I also didn’t know what to expect, this author being new to me. All I knew is that the storyline takes place in the UK.
Geraldine Steel has recently transferred to London, coming from Kent – a place which is looked upon as the backyard of the country by her fellow police officer colleagues. She has been highly recommended by her previous supervisor, however it seems that Geraldine doesn’t quite fit in with her peers. She seems to work too hard – overly so, especially when her colleagues notice that she goes over their work once again, just to make sure they didn’t miss anything. That doesn’t make them feel very happy about her, of course.
As soon as she starts her work, a gruesome crime scene awaits her with a mutilated and battered corpse of a young black woman. Along with Sam, her young partner, Geraldine tries to find the killer, with less than rewarding results. The problem gets compounded when a second body is found, also badly beaten and mutilated, which strongly suggest that they’re looking at the same killer. What if what they have on their hands is a serial killer going after young black women who are easy targets? (both women were drunk, hardly being able to stand on their feet when they were taken)
Parallel with hunt for the monster, we also get in several chapters the killer’s point of view. We learn how he abducts the women and what he does to them. It was not entirely clear why he does to them what he does, although we get more information as we continue reading the book.
The story kept me going right until the end with me flipping page after page to see what comes next. It was really a chilling book to read (my favorite type), where I hardly found any boring moment at all (I know when a book is boring when I find myself skipping long paragraphs of descriptions after descriptions – here I found none).
Speaking about the killer, he was revealed to the police force (it was, of course, Geraldine who figured out who he is) in the last 20 or so pages in the book.
I already talked a bit about Geraldine before, but from what I gathered from this book, she really had a complex back life story makes her behave and look odd in front of her colleagues. From what I gathered in this book, her mom gave her up for adoption, and now she’s looking for her. Unfortunately the adoption office makes it difficult for her to get anywhere as apparently her mom doesn’t want to meet her at all.
She doesn’t have any friends except Sam, her partner, who has her interesting life as well, which brings about a few awkward moments between them as well. Geraldine seems to be a loner, focused on her work to the point of being blunt to her peers and annoyed at her superiors. Her boss, of course, has also second thoughts about having hired her in the first place. Not the best work atmosphere ever!
The author doesn’t go in depth describing other characters too much, they are more like background to Geraldine and to a lesser degree Sam. Actually the whole focus of the book is Geraldine, period.
Having finished reading it, I was wondering whether I should have in fact started with the first book in the series, and I think yes, it is best read in order. While the actual crime story will be resolved by the end of the book, there is a lot of murky background story to Geraldine, with is worth exploring as the author develops the character. For example Geraldine keeps thinking back to a DS Ian Peterson, apparently her previous partner back at home, and it seems they really had a great partnership going, with probably more of Geraldine’s happier character being revealed in those first books.
Of course now she is in a new setting, new city with new colleagues and a new boss and Geraldine had to close herself to them until she learns to trust them. At least that’s what I gathered from the book.
I will definitely pick up the first book in the series and then continue with the next one (apparently there are currently 5 books in the series with Death Bed being the 4th). I think it is a series that is worth reading from the start to really understand the intricacies of a character such as Geraldine Steel.
To read more about Death Bed by Leigh Russell or buy the book, visit Amazon
About the Author
LEIGH RUSSELL is described as “a brilliant talent” by Jeffery Deaver. CUT SHORT (2009) was shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger Award for Best First Novel. Road Closed (2010) was listed as a Top Read on Eurocrime. With Dead End (2011) Leigh’s detective Geraldine Steel was Number 1 on amazon kindle’s bestseller chart for female sleuths.
Leigh Russell is the award-winning author of the Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson mysteries. She is an English teacher who lives in the UK with her family.
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