Dead Stock is the second book to feature Rachel Ward’s unlikely crime-fighting duo Ant and Bea. The first was The Cost of Living which I really enjoyed and recommend you read to get some background but it’s not essential – this reads just fine as a standalone novel.
Dead Stock (which is a bit of a pun as you’ll see when you read the book) sees Ant and Bea investigating the disappearance and killing of many cats in their neighbourhood. As they gather up the clues, the finger of blame seems to be pointing at an ex-employee of the supermarket where they both work, a disgruntled ex-employee who already has it in for Bea. The more involved they get, the more dangerous it seems to be as they discover some rather disturbing goings-on.
I spent a fair bit of this book thinking “Don’t do that Bea, tell the police Bea, this is getting dangerous Bea!”. I’m not sure she would have listened to me though because Bea is one determined young lady with a strong sense of fairness and what is right. She is one of these people who always wants to help, whether that’s her friends, her family, her colleagues or even her customers. I really enjoyed the dynamics of the supermarket, how the staff interacted, the changes the new boss was trying to bring in, the relationship between the staff and their regular customers. There is also a hint of romance in the air for Bea. In fact, I would say there was more than a hint with a few people realising just what a special person she is. It will be interesting to see how that develops.
I really felt for Ant in this book. He has had such a difficult home life which, if anything, gets even more difficult for him in this book. Despite everything life throws at him, he is one of the good guys and given the opportunity, he has the potential to do so well in life. I love the friendship between him and Bea and the way she always has his back, the way they support each other. Ant uses some recently acquired skills to great effect in this book and Bea can see that he could go far. I’m sure with her encouragement and support, he could indeed make the most of his potential.
At one point in the book, Ant describes Bea as a “mild-mannered checkout girl by day, crime-fighting superhero by night”. I think that gives a flavour of what the book is like. Yes there are some rather nasty crimes, some dangerous criminals, some tricky situations, but at the same time there’s a lightness to the story, and humour too. I thoroughly enjoyed spending my weekend with Ant and Bea and can’t wait to read about their next adventure which I believe will be out soon!
My thanks to Ceris at Sandstone Press for sending me a copy of the book. Dead Stock is available now in paperback and as an ebook. You will find buying links on the publishers’ website – Dead Stock
From the back of the book
“I’m scared of anyone with a knife and a grudge.” New Year dawns and something is rotten in Kingsleigh. With a body on the bypass and pet cats going missing, supermarket sleuths Ant and Bea have a new case. But juggling problems at work and home takes its toll and as they near the truth, more than one secret is going to come out.
About the author
I’m a fiftysomething author of thrillers for young adults and crime for adults. I live in Bath, England, and have a husband, two grown up chilldren a dog and a chicken. I’v been a full-time writer for 5 years, before which I had ‘sensible’ jobs for 25 years. For young adults, I have published the Numbers trilogy, The Drowning and Water Born with Chicken House UK. The first book came out in the UK in 2009 and the USA in 2010. My Numbers books explore the gift of being able to see death dates. If you looked in somebody’s eyes and saw the date of their death, would it change the way you felt about people? Would it change the way you lived your life? They’ve been published in 26 countries and optioned for film. I’m now writing crime for adults, with the Ant and Bea mysteries – fairly cosy crime set in and around a supermarket. The first novel in the series, The Cost of Living, published in September 2017 by Sandstone Press.
Find out more about me at my website: http://www.rachelwardbooks.com or follow me on Twitter: @RachelWardbooks where you will see that I also paint and take photographs.