Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Cut Short by Leigh Russell

June 2009, No Exit Press
350 Pages, Paperback
Review Copy
Cushions: 4
Daggers: 3 (There is violence but this is not overdone -it's enough to explain it without wishing to shock the reader)
Smiles: 2 (Despite it all there are one or two humorous lines in there)

Gerry's recommended rating:

Summary from PUBLISHER

When D.I. Geraldine Steel relocates to the quiet rural town of Woolsmarsh, she expects to find her new home to be somewhere where nothing much ever happens; a space where she can battle her demons in private. But when she finds herself pitted against a twisted killer preying on local young women she quickly discovers how wrong she is...
By day, the park is a place for children's games, for people walking their dogs or taking a short cut to avoid the streets. But in the shadows a predator prowls, hunting for a fresh victim. When an unwitting bystander comes forward as a witness she quickly becomes the next object of his murderous obsessions - someone whom the killer must stop at all costs.
D.I. Geraldine Steel is locked into a race against time, determined to find the killer before they discover yet another naked corpse . But can she save the lives of the town's young women - or will Geraldine herself become the killer's ultimate trophy?

When I asked for a copy of Cut Short by Leigh Rusell to read I was told that the author had asked that whoever reviewed it should also review the next two in the series and could I agree to that? I readily agreed and sat back to await it's arrival. It's during that wait that you start to wonder whether you've done the right thing. It's a long while since I have read a bad book and I could have agreed to such a series of books!

When it arrived I was very quickly put at ease - a bad book this was not. The cover compares Leigh Russell to Rendell and La Plante but they are famous for who dunnits. This is not a who dunnit. We start chapter one with the killer as he hides the body of the first victim and we spend a fair time inside his head. It's not a nice place to be but one thing I have always struggled with is where the news tells us a killer did it because God told him to. In this book I could see and believe in this phenomena and I can now admit to understanding how they can believe it themselves.

We meet Geraldine Steel, a DI working on a team investigating the murder which soon becomes apparent as the start of a serial killer's trail. She is part of a team and not the leader - this again sets Leigh Russell apart from other writers. DI Steel does not enjoy a simple domestic life but has various problems of her own, but in reality who doesn't? We are exposed to some of the stresses she feels as she battles to try to find the killer and not be removed from the case. We meet others members of her team, key public figures and potential victims and the characterisation is such that I understood the people as much as the story required.

The chapters are short and snappy which makes this book excellent for stop start reading and the action is fast but not gory. I found, because of the writing style, I constantly wanted to read one more page and so the story flew past and I really did enjoy it.

I feel my decision to read this is more than vindicated and look forward to the second book in the series.

I am asked to include anything I didn't like about the book in the review and I find that hard to answer - how about it's a signed copy and it is addressed to 'To Yunaleska (real name witheld for privacy)' and I'm not Yunaleska. If that's all there is to fault it, then it cannot be bad. Yunaleska adds: Sorry for that - the book was sent out before I knew you were going to read it!

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a thriller but doesn't enjoy the gory horrendous stuff of the Stephen King ilk.

Author can be found at:

Other reading I would recommend would be PD James and A Taste for death.

Be sure to check out the interview Gerry held with Leigh here!

1 comment:

Leigh Russell said...

Thank you for the review, Gerry. I'm so glad you enjoyed Cut Short. Please let me have a postal address, and I'll make sure a signed copy of Road Closed reaches you - this time signed to you!
You can contact me on