I couldn’t put this one down! It grips you from the very beginning and doesn’t let up!
Jenny Bowen makes it onto the Caledonian Sleeper Train by the skin of her teeth, rushing onto the train, lucky that the doors are the old fashioned manual type that don’t close electrically, but are manually operated! Although she’s never actually booked a sleeping berth (sorry … they’re called ‘rooms’ now) before, a colleague has convinced her it’s the only way to travel overnight, and she’s succumbed to the pressure and will have a bed for the journey.
Due to her late arrival, she realises she’s boarded the train quite a few compartments away from the one that she’s booked, so she has to walk through the train to find her own., which she does rather awkwardly, especially when she arrives at the sleeper cabins, where the corridors are extremely narrow. But it gives her the opportunity to see a couple of her fellow travellers: a thin woman travelling with a little girl – who’s dropped her grey bunny, which Jenny picks up and hands back to her; and a tall blond man in a black coat.
Jenny is exhausted by recent events: her dad has passed away a few weeks prior to this trip, which has her travelling back to his house to pack it up and see about selling the place. Also, after long suspecting that her husband Eric was being unfaithful, she finally discovered the evidence she needed and they’ve now separated, pending a divorce. So the past weeks have been stressful to say the least. Lulled by the moving train, she soon falls asleep. But during the night she wakes up needing the bathroom, which means she has to leave her room. She opens her door, eases her way out into the narrow corridor, only to discover that her neighbour, the thin woman she saw earlier is sprawled in her own open doorway, clearly deceased, with no sign of the child who had been with her.
When the police arrive, she knows before he even opens his mouth to tell her, that the cop will say there is no trace or record of the little girl ever having been there. Nobody believes her. Nobody will listen when she insists the child was there – she’s positive this was not a figment of her imagination. But the police are quite sure this is an open and shut case of death by overdose and are keen to close the investigation as soon as possible.
What follows is a story of a tenacious, resilient female protagonist who just won’t quit. I loved that about Jenny, although in equal measure I found her stubborn and annoying at times! Using her knowledge of IT, she decides that she needs to do some research and tries to find out who the dead woman could be. She’s supported by Seargent Mike Fletcher who finds some elements of truth in her story, despite the fact that his colleague, DI Greg Porter says that she’s talking nonsense.
There’s danger, twists, secrets and lies and our two intrepid investigators need to overcome the odds to get to the bottom of a mystery that has them baffled. All of it makes for a thrilling, page-turning read, but be warned though … the body-count is high!
An exciting 4-star read!
Mason Cross was born in Glasgow in 1979. He studied English at the University of Stirling and has worked variously as a tax officer, events coordinator, project manager and pizza delivery boy. He has written a number of short stories which have been published in Ellery Queen, Scribble and First Edition.
His story ‘A Living‘, was shortlisted for the Quick Reads ‘Get Britain Reading’ Award. His first novel, The Killing Season was longlisted for the 2015 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and his second, The Samaritan was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club in Spring 2016. The third book in the series, The Time to Kill was released in 2016 and published in the US under the title Winterlong in 2017, followed by Don’t Look For Me and Presumed Dead. He lives near Glasgow with his wife and three children.
Thank you to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting me on the tour. Take a look at what other bloggers are saying about What She Saw Last Night …