Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Crime Fiction Week Guest Review: Annie Hauxwell - A Bitter Taste

Reviewed by Victoria Stone

She was ten years old, but knew enough to wipe clean the handle of the bloody kitchen knife. The night was stifling; the windows were closed, sealing in the chaos. A table upturned, shattered crockery. Her distraught mother, bare shoulders raw with welts, knelt beside her motionless father. The child snatched up her backpack, and ran... 

London sweats in the height of summer. The parched city has slowed to a claustrophobic shuffle and there's no end in sight. Heroin-addicted investigator Catherine Berlin hides her scars from prying eyes while working on the worst of all cases: matrimonial. 

The capital's junkies suffer from a drought of a different kind. A strung-out ghost from Berlin's past turns up on her doorstep with a desperate plea for help: her ten-year-old daughter is missing. Reminded of a debt owed, Berlin agrees to help, but the search becomes far deadlier than she could ever imagine, drawing her deep into an underworld of corrupt detectives, ruthless drug dealers, and a child killer... 

A Bitter Taste is the thrilling second instalment in the magnificent crime series featuring civilian investigator Catherine Berlin, whose long-standing heroin addiction is only part of her story.

Thanks Sharon and to the people at William Heinemann for sending me the book.

This is the first book of Annie Hauxwell, which is her second novel. I really enjoyed it and found myself caught up in the story.

Catherine Berlin is asked by someone from her past to find her daughter Princess, who is missing. Princess's mum is a drug addict and has many struggles of her own, some of which come from two corrupt policemen.

As we follow Berlin's story we see her struggle with her own addiction. While trying to hunt down the whereabouts of Princess she soon discovers she is caught up in something much bigger than she could of ever predicted.

If I go into too much detail it really will give the whole plot away. The story is told in the third person and we have a few different stories that entwine with one another.

At times I found it difficult to read when describing some of the criminal acts as they were quite ghastly, but they spurred me on to read more. It was a really dark and murky read, full of addiction and corruption on all sides.

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