Cut Short by Leigh Russell

Cut ShortIntroducing DI Geraldine Steel, of Woolsmarsh CID. In her first case – well, the first one written about anyway – a predator is stalking the main park. Young women – well, young girls – are being murdered one at a time, their bodies left in the park. As the bodycount and the local hysteria rises, the killer becomes bolder and bolder – but without any clues to go on, how can the police stop him?

Six books so far and Leigh Russell has become a hit ebook author – successful enough for those ebooks to get published as real books – you know, those papery things. In fact, she was signing books in a shop near me the other day. Would you like to know why I didn’t get a signed copy?

Because I really didn’t get on with this book. Not at all.

You’ll know I’ve got a no spoilers rule on this blog – take a look at the top right of the page if you don’t believe me. So, in my mind, that means that anything that doesn’t happen in the first twenty per cent or so doesn’t get a mention for fear of spoiling the twists and turns in the plot. Well, with this one, if I was to tell you the first twenty per cent – probably even the first ten per cent – then you could probably put most of the story together.

We get the killer’s point of view very early on, complete with a name, and a pretty clear idea of his motivations. And then he basically keeps killing people every so often until he’s caught. There is one aspect to the plot – albeit it tiny and pretty irrelevant – that is left to the end but for me, it was too little, too late.

I don’t expect every crime novel to be an out and out mystery but if you put the word “MYSTERY” on the cover, then you need, at the very least, a twist. I kept reading in the hope of something clever – but apart from the little thing mentioned before, it really isn’t there.

I’m OK with the fact that some of the early sections have a somewhat clunky writing style – this was the author’s first book – and that some of the characters are rather underdeveloped – a common occurrence in the first book of a series. But please, publishers, don’t call a book a mystery if it really isn’t one. Because this isn’t one.

If you like serial killer thrillers, then you might like this – it’s averaged 4 stars on Amazon and has some heavyweight quotes on the cover – Jeffrey Deaver, Peter James, etc. But it’s not for me and I won’t be back for more – unless someone out there can recommend a later book…


    • The thing is, as with some other authors, this series of books is extremely popular – it does seem sometimes that we readers who desired a puzzle to be solved are in the minority. A shame. Still, anything that gets people reading…


  1. I read the sample at and was put off by the writing style. However, i wondered who Miss Elsie was and whether this would be a surprise. But your review makes it clear that there is no mystery at all. Hence I will avoid this book.
    In fact, after Paul Halter and Edward D. Hoch, I am in no mood to read such mediocre books.


    • The Miss Elsie bit is the inconsequential bit I mentioned – it is a mystery, but one that has no real bearing on the plot, in my opinion. The writing style does pick up, by the way…


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