This is book 9 in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series. This book in the series is definitely Gemma-centric. She has recovered from her miscarriage and has gone on a brief trip with Hazel to Scotland. Once there she realizes the trip is not simply a girl’s getaway, but that Hazel and others have ulterior motives connected to Hazel’s past and perhaps her future. There is also a plot involving Kit’s grandmother and her ongoing attempt for custody and a plot line in the form of Hazel’s ancestors which provide foreshadowing and finally explanation for some of the current day events.
I love the character of Gemma and she has shown such growth since this series began, she is a very three dimensional character. This storyline provides another step in Gemma’s growth as a woman and a partner and in solidifying her and Duncan’s relationship. The mystery is interesting with twists and red herrings. The Scottish setting adds vivid color to the book and pulls the reader into the story. Great mystery read in a series that gets better and better as it goes.
I received a free ebook of Hard Wired from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.
Charlie is a hard working widow without many qualifications. She gave up on her education, had her child young, and then her husband died. This leads her to a series of working class jobs as she tries to keep a roof over her and her daughter, Casey’s head. Her current job is working as a guard/monitor at a bail hostel. This job exposes her to knowledge of criminals and the law. She is conscientious and works hard, often working the graveyard shift.
She comes home to find that a neighbor and friend’s son is missing, later to be found dead. Being that the child, Darren, had been in trouble with the law and had a mother who does not really present herself well to the police or media, there is not much hope that the case will be solved. Charlie begins to investigate the crime using a surprisingly keen intelligence and a determination to find justice for Darren. Through this process she discovers or perhaps rediscovers herself. This is all set against a rather grim backdrop of life in a neighborhood where many people don’t work, others live paycheck to paycheck barely making it, and many boys find themselves in the criminal justice system.
The mystery focuses on what it means to try to find justice when the victim doesn’t generate much sympathy. Outside of the mystery, there are subplots involving Charlie’s daughter’s education and future. Will she follow in her mother’s footsteps? Finally, there is the personal growth of Charlie’s character over the course of the book. These three pieces fit together in a tightly woven story line. Highly recommended read.