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Author: Martina Cole

Title: Hard Girls

Publisher: Headline

Paperback: 592 pages

ISBN: 978-0-7553-5778-9

Price: £6.99

Publication Date: 15/04/2010

In her most recent novel, Martina Cole revisits the character of Kate Burrows – former DCI and now consultant for the Grantley police force – who has been called in to assist DCI Annie Carr after a prostitute is found brutally tortured [caustic soda has been poured down her throat], raped and murdered. As more girls’ bodies are found it seems that Grantley have another serial killer [I make it the third that Kate has worked on – they must be some sort of statistical anomaly!].

And as Kate and Annie begin to investigate the killings they discover links that implicate Kate’s partner Patrick Kelly and the murky criminal world that he has supposedly ‘retired’ from. It is against this backdrop that Kate and Patrick’s relationship begins to disintegrate.
I began this novel late the other evening with the intention of reading for half an hour before I went to sleep. Two hours later I finally prised myself away. It is this unputdownability [my spell check just had a hissy fit over that word!] that makes Cole such an enjoyable read. I was constantly telling myself that I would only read ‘another chapter’ [which isn’t difficult with Cole – I counted 143 … and an epilogue!], and then you can’t help reading another … and another.

The end result is that Hard Girls is a break-neck novel, direct and no-nonsense with brutal violence and filled with men and women prepared to bend and break the rules to achieve their goals [a trait that is fascinating to us law-abiding readers]. Another turbo-charged read from the queen of British crime.

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