Desperate Measures by Cath Staincliffe

Desperate MeasuresDr Donald Haliwell is not a popular man. He has made enemies at his clinic both within his colleagues and his patients. He has recently been cleared of malpractice in the courts – it was claimed that he withdrew methadone for an addict too quickly, which caused the girl to kill herself. Needless to say, the parents of the girl do not agree with the verdict. With the number of people bearing a grudge, it’s not that much of a surprise when he is found shot dead outside of his clinic.

DCI Janine Lewis is assigned the case, but with so many motives to chase – patients, rivals, local criminals, addicts, his wife – can the killer be found before they strike again?

This is something a little different. Cath Staincliffe is the brains behind the TV series Blue Murder, an ITV series featuring Caroline Quentin as single mother/DCI Janine Lewis, as well as Scott & Bailey. I’ve not watched either series – my ITV viewing is restricted to murders committed in Oxford or the Cotswolds – but maybe I should start expanding my horizons.

As you may have deduced, this book is based on Blue Murder. In fact, it’s an adaptation (as far as I can see – there’s not a vast amount of background info on this one) of a TV episode. You know, like Terrance Dicks used to do with Doctor Who scripts. It’s a relatively short read – it feels about the length of one of the shorter Christie novels – and is only available as an ebook. I’ve no idea how faithful an adaptation it is though, so even if you’ve seen the episode, there might be surprises here.

That doesn’t sound like it should be that good, but it’s an engrossing read. The character development of the leads is slight, but as this was a mid-series episode of an ongoing series, that’s probably to be expected. But the overall story is involving with some nice twists and turns. It’s reasonably predictable – knowing the source material was an ITV drama gives you some idea of the general structure – and I spotted the killer fairly early on, despite a good attempt to hide them.

But, as I said, it’s an engrossing read. Cath Staincliffe has written a number of more “serious” crime novels and I’ll be trying out one of those next month. A bargain as an ebook, this is Recommended.


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