THREE dead prostitutes and a turf war between local gangsters takes a murder investigation into Bradford communities, where tensions run high.
To make matters more complicated, DI Angus McGuire is juggling an affair with his boss’s daughter and trying to cope with fraught family relations.
With murder, love and corruption on his mind, DI McGuire is back with a new case in Uncoiled Lies, the second crime thriller from Bradford writer Liz Mistry.
It comes hot on the heels of her debut novel, Unquiet Souls, released last year. Liz credits an MA in creative writing with helping her deal with depression - and it led to literary success. As part of the course she started to write the dark thriller, about a child-trafficking ring investigated by Bradford’s Major Incident Team headed by DI McGuire.
After the initial rejection letter that any first-time author must brace themselves for, Liz was offered a two-book deal by Bloodhound Books, and says she’s still “pinching myself.”
Unquiet Souls was well received by critics and was awarded three Kindle all-stars awards in the first three months of publication. In its first month alone it sold more than 5,000 copies.
“I owe a debt of gratitude to the lecturers on the creative writing MA at Leeds Trinity University,” she says. “Their approachability and professionalism instilled in me confidence and sense of security.”
Liz takes pride in setting her books in Bradford. Originally from Scotland, she embraces the rich diversity of her adoptive city.
In Uncoiled Lies, she traces the link between three dead prostitutes and a long forgotten murder.
Will McGuire and his team get the answers they want or is the uncomfortable truth much closer to home?
DI McGuire is the kind of gruff, no-nonsense maverick detective you could imagine at the centre of a TV crime drama. With a forensic psychology degree, he’s been fast-tracked to head up the Major Incident Team. Sidekick Sadia is a refreshingly feisty Muslim female police officer.
Although Uncoiled Lies is the follow-up to Unquiet Souls, it’s a gripping, exciting page-turner than can be read as part of a series or as a stand-alone novel. Crime thriller fans will read it with relish, and Bradfordians have the extra advantage of being familiar with locations mentioned in the novel. Most chapters have titles relating to local places, including Oak Lane, Ingleby Road, Killinghall Road and Bradford Royal Infirmary, and there are references to real-life local murder cases.
The first chapter alone begins with: “Halfway up Leeds Road, past the Sikh gurudwara, Pakeezah Halal Food Depot and half a dozen Asian restaurants, Shahid Khan’s club, The Delius, stood back from the road with a car park fronting it.”
The book continues with the grim discovery of a dead woman. “’There’s been another one. Same as t’other two, sir’. Gus scratched his stomach. The last thing he’d wanted was a third dead prostitute on his hands. The vultures would be out in force, yelling ‘serial killer’ and citing Bradford’s existing reputation with the Yorkshire Ripper and the Crossbow Cannibal. Gus didn’t need them lending gravitas to these killings.”
Liz tackles the dark subject matter with what appears to be pretty thorough research, a gritty sense of realism and a capable authority, bringing credibility to McGuire and his police team. Midsomer Murders this ain’t, but it would make a cracking crime drama. Anyone seeking new talent for television drama writing should be knocking on Liz Mistry’s door right now.