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Dead to Me    by Cath Staincliffe order for
Dead to Me
by Cath Staincliffe
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Cath Staincliffe's Dead to Me is a British police procedural with an intriguing female Odd Couple pairing. Older, wiser and unambitious Detective Constable Janet Scott is partnered with Rachel Bailey, a young, reckless newbie to the Manchester murder squad who's desperate to prove herself. Rachel actually reminds Janet of their boss (also her good friend) DCI Gill Murray, in her younger days.

Janet, who already has a teenager at home, is not enthused about being partnered with Rachel, especially after experiencing her reckless driving, but Gill insists. And Rachel immediately pigeonholes Janet as 'Mediocre. Just hanging on for her pension. Shoot me now.' Janet's marriage still suffers from the early loss of a child, but she's a skilled and committed cop. They investigate a brutal murder together.

Slowly, as the case develops, Janet and Rachel learn to see, and then value, each other's strengths. Rachel makes mistakes and Janet defends her. It's Rachel's connection of this case with an older one that creates a breakthrough. When Rachel agrees that she's like a terrier but in a good way, Janet comments, 'Depends if you've found a rat or you're savaging next door's guinea pig.'

This is a solid police procedural with an unexpected ending, but what made it stand out for me were the three women leads, successful in an environment that can be especially unwelcoming to women. I hope to read more of Rachel, Janet and Gill.

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