Cath Staincliffe, award-winning novelist and TV writer, brings her talent to an adaptation of ITV's Scott & Bailey, telling the story behind DC Rachel Bailey's introduction to the MIT and planting seeds for stories that would shape the first two series (at least -- that's all I've seen, maybe there's more).
Staincliffe captured the voice of the characters so well -- I could see them all playing clearly in my mind. The case was nothing spectacular -- wasn't the death of a major political figure, a celebrity, or anything particularly gory. It was a simple stabbing of a poor drug addict, yet this team throws everything at the case. Precisely the way that Harry Bosch or John Ceepak would -- I'd like to think that actual police work as hard as their fictional counterparts, hopefully that's true.
There are plenty of suspects, plenty of red herrings, and plenty of obstacles to Rachel becoming a member of the team and earning her new boss' trust (and plenty of times Rachel shot herself in the foot in the process of both). It's not all about Rachel (as viewers know), but she's the entry point here. There's plenty about DC Janet Scott and their boss, DCI Gill Murray -- both professionally and personally.
I liked the parallelism of Janet trying her best with her kids and the victim's mother repeatedly saying the same. It's not a revolutionary idea by any measure, but Staincliffe handled it deftly. Later on, she did the same when Gill deals with a minor emergency involving her teenage son. Rachel doesn't have a motherhood parallel, hers is on the other end. All of it, really well done and none of these get to the point of beating a dead horse.
This was a solid read, strong enough to justify reading a second book in the series (even without the show) -- and likely more by this author, just to see what she can do with her own characters.