Dead Sorry – Helen H. Durrant

Title: Dead Sorry
Author: Helen H. Durrant
Published byJoffe Books
Publication date: 17th June 2021
Genre: Crime/Thriller
Pages: 226
Format: Hardback
Source: NetGalley

Buy the Book – Amazon

Blurb/Synopsis

Twenty-five years ago, a schoolgirl was attacked. Ambushed by three bullies at her home where she lived alone with her granny.

Now, the mother of one of those bullies is found murdered on the Hobfield housing estate. Written on the wall in the victim’s blood is the word “sorry”.

Detective Tom Calladine and his partner DS Ruth Bayliss discover a link to some bones found at an old house up in the hills. It was the home of the teenage girl who was attacked.

The detectives have more than this puzzling case on their hands. Arch-villain Lazarov is threatening Calladine’s granddaughter and a valuable hoard of Celtic gold is coming to a local museum.

The pressure is on, and this time Calladine is cracking . . .

Review

I was approved for an eARC of Dead Sorry by Helen H Durrant via NetGalley, my thanks to Joffe Books for the approval and I hope that you find my honest review to your satisfaction.


A cold case comes back to haunt Detective Tom Calladine when a body is discovered with the crime scene bearing similarities to those of a case twenty-five years previously. A case of a schoolgirl attacking her bullies and the discovery of a corpse boarded up in a house with the word ‘Sorry’ written in blood where she was found.

Dead Sorry is the 11th book in the Calladine and Bayliss series, but works perfectly fine as a standalone story – just some establishing backstory on the characters lives may give readers of the series more depth and character development to enjoy, but I don’t feel like I missed out. The depth to the main characters is shown through their family connections and the ongoing backstories that develop throughout the novel; blossoming relationships and how the two leads interact with one another. There’s a clear understanding of working relationships and boundaries in place and the dynamic between Calladine and Bayliss is pleasurable to read about. There is a dynamic between the two that comes across as caring but professional.

Along with the main murder investigation, there’s also the story of Lazarov; a rather nasty drug-dealer who has his claws out for revenge against Calladine – this I assume ties into a previous case in the series – but again, there’s enough information given in the book to allow for this to be a stand-alone case.

It is these glimpses into their home life and the trials that the characters suffer that make them relatable, at times frustrating, but overall they feel real and believable.

The plot of Dead Sorry is packed with twists, turns and has more red-herrings than a fish-mongers! It’s an enjoyable, fast-paced case that involves enough mystery to keep the plot progressing and entertaining.

Being new to the setting within the ‘Dead’ series of books, I was quite thrilled to discover they are close to home. Leesworth, a fictional town, is situated close to Manchester – near where I live – so reading the descriptions of the surrounding area and of the City, in part, felt accurate and helped to lure me in further. The estate of Hobsfield was vividly written and came across as an authentic part of English culture; for better or worse. The characters within this estate were evocative of those you’d come across and even the description of one of the pubs came across with such an authenticity I could easily picture it.

So too could I vividly see the character Jade O’Brien, daughter of the recent murder victim. Her involvement in the story came from an unusual place; she was sympathetically written but without being overbearingly so. At times I questioned my thoughts on her place in the story as a whole, did I feel sorry for what happened to her or had some sort of ‘justice’ been served? Her involvement in the older of the two cases was a cleverly played out part of the book and how the two cases intertwined felt like the true mystery of the crime book. At times I couldn’t let myself leave a chapter unfinished for wanting to learn the truth of what happened during those early years and how it all ties together in the end.

The conclusion to the book is very well done and feels strong, especially after chasing the red-herrings! It’s a well rounded, clearly considered story which has all manner of mystery tactics weaved throughout. I highly recommend Dead Sorry to readers of crime and mystery thrillers who are looking for a good, quick, read.

Summary

A good character-driven story that has enough twists to keep the reader guessing, be them new to the genre or well established in crime settings. Some brilliantly written scenes that feel genuine to the British setting. A great stand alone that also fits into a larger body of work, that I am eager to start from the beginning.