A Matter Of Time by Claire Askew – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

At 8am the first shots are fired.

At 1pm, the police establish the gunman has a hostage.

By 5pm, a siege is underway.

At 9pm, DI Helen Birch walks, alone and unarmed, into an abandoned Borders farmhouse to negotiate with the killer.

One day. One woman. One chance to get everyone out alive.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. 

As soon as I started reading this book I was hooked. It is a novel where the first character you meet is the one who was the threat and you could see what his thoughts were before you met the lead character. In this novel that character was DI Helen Birch who had no idea that her day was going to be nothing like the one she planned.

The novel covers the whole day, from when there is little information to the moment when the various police teams descend onto the remote area and from there to the negotiation and outcome. One of the reasons I like this novel is that whilst there is an obvious sense of emergency there is no rush. The author shows the strength of feeling in the local area with regards to the suspect and what led to his prison sentence. Helen is surprised by how much sympathy there is for him but her understanding grows as she starts to gain his trust and he opens up. 

There is a lot of emotion and guilt in this novel. The impact of foot and mouth disease on the area was devastating, especially for Gerald, the gunman. A distant memory for many, including myself, but from which some would never recover. The determination to keep a young girl safe, and the way she was handled was another. And alongside this was the respect, frustration and occasional humour that was building amongst those who were there in the background. All of them trying to support Helen with little idea of how well she was managing. Unarmed and alone with a desperate armed man with nothing to lose. 

I sometimes find it difficult to read a book that is part of a series I haven’t read before, but despite this being book four I managed to get straight into it. There was mention of an earlier case that had an impact on Helen but there were no spoilers so I can read and enjoy them just as much as I did this one

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