Written by Mark Sennen — It is always something of a lottery for a reader to discover an author and character mid-series. Will you feel left out of a tight-knit clique, or be welcomed to the fold with open arms? Tell Tale is the fourth Sennen novel to feature DI Charlotte Savage, and I’m happy to report that it is just as readable as a stand-alone story.
Charlotte is a well-respected officer, and also a wife and mother to two children. Once she was a mother of three though, until a hit and run driver killed her daughter. No-one was brought to justice but now, years later, she knows who the killer is. They say revenge is a dish best served cold, but what form will Charlotte’s revenge take?
Struggles with her conscience must go on the back burner when Savage and her team are called to the desolate Devon moorland. There’s a puzzle to solve: a bag of women’s clothes and her Hungarian passport are found floating at the edge of a reservoir, with no sign of the person they belong to. Where is she? And how did the bag get there? A thorough search reveals nothing, yet two days later the body is discovered in a spot which was already scoured by officers. Anasztaz Roka is naked, and her broken body shows a variety of scratches and scrapes which have everybody flummoxed. Curiouser and curiouser.
Ana’s Russian room mate Irina Kryuvok has a story to tell, if only anyone would spare a moment to listen and take her seriously. Both she and Ana worked as waitresses in a cafe, and both attracted the unwelcome attentions of an odious and very strange customer who likes to call himself Chubber. Irina thinks he had something to do with Ana’s disappearance but in her experience, the police are not to be trusted, so she decides to investigate in her own way. It takes a while before the police realise Irina has gone missing too, but with an ongoing murder investigation, and worrying evidence that suggests Satanists are causing havoc in the area, she is pretty low on their list of priorities.
Throughout it all, Savage valiantly tries to keep a steady course, but this woman seems to get very little sleep and spends a decreasing amount of time with her family. It is touch and go whether she will withstand the pressures and find any sort of solution to her problems or the case in hand. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, shadowy figures are conspiring to bring her down once and for all…
There is a wide ranging cast of characters in Tell Tale, and this unsettling sense of overpopulation means there are times when you may find yourself going back a few pages in an effort to sort out who’s who. The book also boasts enough story strands for a couple of novels – sheep rustling, Satanism, revenge, murder, double dealing and deception, to name but a few of its elements. It’s not a story for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, containing as it does some pretty graphic scenes of violence. However, Tell Tale is a heady mix of thriller and police procedural which has enough twists and turns to keep you on your toes to the very end.
As we make this story live, this book is an absolute steal on Amazon – 99p for Kindle and £2.00 as a paperback.
CFL Rating: 4 Stars