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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Run for Home. Sheila Quigley. Arrow Books (2004)

A great cast and a savage plot combine very enjoyably in this gripping thriller. A long buried headless corpse is uncovered and a young girl, Claire Lumpsdon, is kidnapped. Detective Inspector Lorraine Hunt heads up the investigations into both events and finds a connection to other missing girls. Claire's mother realises that her darkest fears about the past are coming back as she hears details of the corpse. As the police investigation and the family's efforts to find Claire develop a terrible web of violence, hatred, revenge is uncovered. The plot has great momentum, the reveals are really well staged, the conclusion is brutally effective.
Sheila Quigley has created a great cast in a brilliantly realised context, a run down housing estate in the North of England. The poverty and dismal atmosphere of pervasive long term unemployment are established quickly and vividly. The impact of these elements on the cast are made brutally clear in the lives of the Lumsdom family and their neighbours. The hidden factors which target the Lumsdon family in particular are revealed in a very natural way, the reactions and responses of the family are very engaging.
Lorraine Hunt is a forceful and energetic character. Ambitious and competent, she is given enough space and trouble to demonstrate a genuine depth of personality. She is credibly steely as a professional police officer and faced with a devastating personal crisis responds with heart and passion. One of the very striking aspects in the book is the very clear demarcation between the career criminals, ultimately betrayed by the vicious stupidity and greed that led them to crime and the illegal activities rooted in poverty. The deadly selfishness of the criminals is quietly contrasted with the strained community and generosity of those they exploit. Gripping and thoughtful, this is a great read.

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