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ESSENTIAL SALFORD SUMMER READING WITH EMMA SALISBURY’S ABSENT
 

Star date: 29th July 2018

COPS AND KIDS AND SALFORD COUNCIL IN WHODUNIT THRILLER

A new whodunit novel, Absent by Emma Salisbury, is set in Salford with cops investigating the gruesome murder of a four year old girl found battered and hidden in a sports holdall in a Pendlebury flat. Who is she and, er, whodunit?

As the police and Salford City Council social workers check the at-risk register for clues, the action hits Salford Precinct before the ultra disturbing denouement on Bury New Road. Our reviewer hates whodunits and cop thrillers. What did he make of it?

Full review here...


OK. So there's two things I hate in books, tv series and films: whodunit murder mysteries. And anything to do with cops. So when Emma Salisbury's novel Absent arrived months ago it was put to the bottom of the pile.

...Summer arrives. The World Cup goes by. I run out of excuses to ignore the thing...and begin a forced reading...Like, ewwwww…

In the first chapter, a small girl is discovered dead in a sports holdall in the wardrobe of a flat a young couple are moving into in Pendlebury; so badly disfigured it takes another slew of gruesome morgue visiting pages to discover her age. But no identity.

Who is she? Who murdered her? How did she get there? Do I care? Especially with two Life On Mars style sardonic Salford cops on the hunt...

I force myself to read on...And then, can't put the bastard thing down. Absent is a page turner of the highest calibre. I find myself sitting up into the early hours, totally gripped, totally addicted as 350 pages fly by...Who fucking did it? Why did they fucking do it? How did they fucking do it?...

...I follow Detective Sergeant Kevin Coupland and his team, based at Salford Precinct station, as they grill the residents of the Pendlebury flats, question doctors at Langworthy Medical Centre and check all local kids on the at-risk register, including the 'absent' daughter of hard case, Big Jim, who owns the King's Arms pub on the 'Tattersall' estate..."Thrown up in the sixties it was Salford Housing Department's very own segregation wing. If you needed a home and weren't easily intimidated, this was where you were sent"...

While the old style cop and his team aren't frightened to break rules to get information, Salford Council social workers, wary of their own previous misdemeanours, soon intervene to do everything by the PC welfare check book, as they visit families with "lives punctured by visits from lanyard wearing strangers"...

Meanwhile, our anti-hero, DS Coupland, who keeps "sucking hungrily" on cigarettes, has his own personal sub-plot fuck ups in the shape of his daughter, pregnant by...well that would be telling wouldn't it?

It would also be telling to reveal what happens after the 'at risk' absent kids are checked. But let's just say it keeps the pages turning with a shocking, disturbing, rather horrifically realistic, unfortunately believable twist that begins on Salford Precinct and almost ends on Bury New Road with a full armed raid by the National Crime Agency.

Like, ewwww…

Yes, Absent is a whodunit with cops. But hey, what a read! Especially when it's all set in Salford and the places are either real or thinly disguised (Little Bolton). It's a well researched murder mystery on your doorstep, which adds to the spice.

It's no surprise as author, Emma Salisbury, was born in Salford and her late husband's father and her two brothers-in-law served with Greater Manchester Police.

She is also rather adept at writing books that you can't fucking put down. Fragile Chord, the first of the four DS Coupland novels, had over 100,000 downloads and became Amazon Kindle Top 3 UK bestseller in 'Hard Boiled Crime'. This latest thriller looks set to follow.

If you are in the Salford police or a social worker for Salford City Council this book is essential summer reading. For the rest of us, even those like myself who hate whodunits, cop capers and over-minging details, it's something to get your psychic teeth into on the sun-lounger...

...And the book's ending will make you think about the state of Salford and its hidden people, as you squirm and contort along to a plot that is gripping to the max.

Absent by Emma Salisbury is available as an ebook for £1.99 and paperback for £7.99 from Amazon – click here for further details

For more details on Emma Salisbury's other books see www.emmasalisbury.com


Review by Stephen Kingston

Stephen K wrote
at 19:59:25 on 30 July 2018
See Alice's comment below...No, no, no...the book is good precisely because it makes you think about what is going on under our noses, and it's definitely not trivialised. Like the review states, 'the book's ending will make you think about the state of Salford and its hidden people'...You can borrow it if you want and come to your own conclusions; after you've read it...
 
Alice wrote
at 19:53:36 on 30 July 2018
What a pity that a 'good summer read' has to dwell on such a distressing subject. The ill treatment of children is too real to be trivialised in fiction. We all know of such real deaths and express regret and sadness when we hear of such incidents on the news. There are many subjects which are unjust and damaging which could be the focus of an 'who done it.' It won't be my summer read!
 
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