DI Robin Lyons has been dismissed for misconduct from the Met’s Homicide Command after refusing to follow orders. Unable to pay her bills (or hold down a relationship), she is left with no choice but to move back in with her parents in the city she thought she’d escaped forever at 18. This time, though, Robin has her teenage daughter Lennie in tow.
In Birmingham, sharing a bunkbed with Lennie and navigating the stormy relationship with her mother, Robin works as a benefit-fraud investigator – to the delight of those wanting to see her cut down to size.
Only Corinna, Robin’s best friend of 20 years, seems happy to have Robin back. But when Corinna’s family is engulfed by violence and her missing husband becomes a murder suspect, Robin can’t bear to stand idly by as the police investigate. As Robin begins her own investigation, she realises there may be a link to the disappearance of a young woman, and she begins to wonder how well we ever know the people we care about.
As I have come to expect from Lucie Whitehouse’s writing, ‘Critical Incidents‘ is a superb story, with sensitive characterisation and an emotional pull that you often don’t get from crime fiction. I couldn’t put ‘Critical Incidents‘ down. It’s a wonderful blend of pacey plot and intrigue with a touch of humour in the darkness.
There are plenty of interlinking stories here which some may dismiss as “convenient” but I actually enjoyed the story so much that I was happy to suspend my disbelief.
Whitehouse has a real skill for presenting fictional crime alongside domesticity and I really like that about her writing. She really captures familial tensions perfectly – the tense relationship between Robin and her mother adds plenty to the story.
The way in which Whitehouse portrays Robin is pitch perfect. Despite obviously being a competent officer, Robin’s unwillingness to play by the rules consistently gets her in bother. I like that Robin has her problems but her intentions are good. I could really identify with Robin and her well-intentioned missteps.
‘Critical Incidents‘ is a must-read.