The village of Radcote is still reeling from a recent spate of suicides when another teen is determined to have taken his life. DI Lorraine Fisher isn't there to investigate, however. Nope, Lorraine is on a much-needed vacation visiting her sister. They're to spend the week as a family seeing the sites and enjoying each other's company.
But Lorraine's hopes for a quiet and work-free week are dashed when she catches wind that this latest suicide might be anything but. And when another suicide is discovered and her own nephew disappears, Lorraine knows she can't sit on the sidelines any longer.
Samantha Hayes's latest is a return to DI Lorraine Fisher of last year's Until Your Mine, but it's a spoiler-free return.
The book begins with this latest suicide, which the reader is well aware is actually an accident. And it's a pretty jarring opening. The plot moves quickly forward with Lorraine's arrival in Radcote and Hayes setting the scene for a promisingly tense family reunion. Not only do we know that the house in Radcote is the same Lorraine grew up in, but that her sister's ownership of the house was something of a hoped-for source of contention on the part of Lorraine's mother. And that's not even getting into the actual atmosphere of the house when Lorraine arrives, with her nephew being relentlessly bullied and her sister newly separated.
Whew! Like I said, Hayes sets the scene for a tense reunion.
Even those who haven't read Until Your Mine (like me) are quickly made aware of the fact that Lorraine is a driven cop who's often at risk of putting her cases before her own family. What's more, it turns out she has very real reason to be concerned about the local investigation thanks to her work experience. She's not quite tough-as-nails, though her sister might tell you otherwise, but Lorraine thankfully does not take any crap.
In other words, she's a heroine I can definitely get behind!
Hayes throws a few red herrings out, but I don't think I'm wrong in saying that a seasoned reader is unlikely to fall for them. Fortunately Lorraine is such a strong character that she easily carries the plot, making What You Left Behind (aka Before You Die) a pretty fun read over all.