This is a belated review of the late great Helen Cadburys debut 2013 novel To Catch A Rabbit.
Having met and talked to Helen a few times who sadly passed away earlier this year I was intrigued by her novels which had high praise in reviews and by fellow authors. To Catch A Rabbit helped Helen win Northern crime competition.
Usually Crime isn't my normal genre so only read a few but this seemed different.
Her main protagonist Sean Denton is just a PCSO and not fully in the police force. Whereas other crime novels have their main character higher up in the police like a Detective.
Set quite local in South Yorkshire in Doncaster and York (Helen's own city).
PCSO Sean Denton is doing his rounds on his local estate when a boy stops him to say he's found a body.
They go to a local wasteland where an old food trailer is and on the steps a dead Chinese girl.
This is where our story begins as DCI Burger takes over declaring it an open and shut case of drug overdose. Until a second body is found.
What follows is a twisty crime novel involving human trafficking and prostitution but Helen handles this sensitively and realistically.
As well as Sean Dentons POV we also get chapters from Karen Friedman whose brother Phillip has gone missing maybe murdered. Karen not only has to deal with her brothers disappearance but the gradual break up of her family and her affair with DC Moon.
For the first half of the book we also get Phillips POV showing his final day delivering dodgy goods for his friend John McKenzie.
With great three dimensional characters, and realistic gritty dialogue that puts Happy Valley to shame this is a great twisty read.
I was annoyed at how long it took me to read as it is a quick easy read and only 349 pages but life got in the way.
I did chuckle at one point when I was reading it in a caravan in Cleethorpes in July with the rain belting down outside as Helen mentions this in her book. See below.
Overall - A great debut from a talented writer sadly cut short in her prime whereby she's doing something different with the crime genre and has written great characters and plot. Well worth a read.
Score - 10/10