When a skeleton is found in an old WWII bunker, Detective Kate Brannon is determined to get to the bottom of just who has lain there since the storm in December 2013 flooded the area and closed the bunker off. And why? Why is there a body there? Is it a dump site? Or did someone die in the depths of that tunnel?
Meanwhile, Gina is trying her best to keep the campsite going, Sammy safe, and her recovery on track. But will a face from her past threaten the delicate balance she has maintained? And who sent her flowers if it wasn’t Kate?
As Kate and her colleagues try to identify the body and find the cause of death, they uncover illegal activity at a local rest home, and the deeper they dig the murkier things get. Will Kate solve the puzzle of who lay entombed in that bunker, and why no one reported them missing? And can she support Gina as she tries to get her life back on track?
Kate Brannon is one seriously good cop. Like good in just about every sense of the word. At work she is fair, and fiercely driven, and well respected by her colleagues. At home, she is sensitive and sweet. In all aspects of her life you sense Kate has an innate sense of justice and she just really gets people. Not a trait often seen in lesfic Detectives, but she wears it so well.
Gina Temple is a woman so damaged by events in Bramhall’s series opener, Collide-o-Scope, that she cannot let Kate fully in, no matter how much she wants to. When it does happen, you sense it will be explosive. Gina shuts herself off to most of the world, only truly letting her daughter Sammy, and Kate in. But as she opens herself up, she blooms, and by the end of this book I was left wanting to know more about her, and what drives her. She is a really great character, and a terrific solo mother character… I imagine if Kate wasn’t so great with Sammy, Gina would not even entertain a thought of getting involved.
We see far less of Stella in this book than I would hope for. She is one hilarious and sarcastic character and someone I wish I worked with!! And we get glimpses of Alison, Gina’s mother, that suggest some of Gina’s past hurts could be resolved. I guess we have to wait until the next book to see that happen though!!
The Writing Style
If there is one thing I have learned from reading Andrea Bramhall’s work, it is that she has an exceptional sense of timing. Her books always have a sort of “tide coming in” type of pace to them, where the storyline ebbs and flows nicely, but each flow is just a little stronger and longer than the first. Under Parr is no exception, and I found it extraordinarily difficult to put it down. So much so that I pretty much didn’t.
Once again, Bramhall tackles a difficult topic with apparent ease. There are subtle subtexts about the quality of elder care and the issue of euthanasia throughout the story, and I really admire her for writing about this. While I would classify this book as less of a thriller, more of a mystery with a solid helping of social conscience to consider, it is again a terrific example of the way Bramhall builds characters and storylines that will stay with you for a long while after you’ve finished reading.
This book features elder abuse as a general theme, and also talks about euthanasia and assisted suicide. That theme is vital to the storyline, so if you can’t read about it, this isn’t the book for you, but it is so worth the read if you can. I’m not ashamed to admit to a few tears here and there, but as usual Andrea Bramhall draws that emotion out of you and onto her pages, and I am grateful for that.
Because everything I said above. This is yet another gritty and gripping read from Andrea Bramhall featuring characters that are impossible not to like, and a story line that is raw and realistic. Definitely a great buy!!
Excerpt from Under Parr by Andrea Bramhall
“What do we have, sir?” Kate addressed DI Timmons with a glance over his left shoulder, trying to get a glimpse of the body they were there to see.
“It’s not on the beach. Thankfully. The crime scene techs said we’re fine to go in, so follow me.” He turned away from the clubhouse and led them about a hundred yards down from the beach entrance and up into the dunes.
Kate saw a thick slab of concrete, sand piled on top of it and on either side, and a small hole underneath it that looked to disappear into the sand. “A tunnel?” she asked.
“Yup. Leads to a bunker that was built during the Second World War. It was the front line of the home defence. If they tried to invade from the North Sea.”
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The Last First Time
Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 9783955337452
Publisher: Ylva Publishing
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Note: I received a free review copy of Under Parr by Andrea Bramhall. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site