Cover Your Tracks is the third novel from Claire Askew featuring one of my favourite fictional detectives, DI Helen Birch. If you have followed my blog for a while you will know that I am particularly fond of Birch, not least because she lives literally two minutes down the road from me!
In this novel, Birch is still coming to terms with her brother Charlie being in prison and trying to help him avoid more trouble while inside. The case which is the focus of most of her time involves George and Phamie Macdonald, the missing elderly parents of Robertson Bennet. Although a quick check suggests that they should still be alive and well, something is niggling at Birch and she has a hunch that there is more to this case than initially meets the eye. And my goodness she was right! She’s such a tenacious character, so determined to get to the bottom of the case even though her boss is far from convinced.
Cover Your Tracks is another gripping novel from Claire Askew. The character of Birch rings true with her conflicted feelings between her work and her home life. It was great to see more of Birch’s colleague Amy Kato this time too, as she read through and tried to get clues from Phamie’s meticulously kept diaries. I loved the Edinburgh setting which Claire Askew brings vividly to life, although the sinister woods near Carstairs Junction were also all too real. Some really dark themes are explored very sensitively as the novel progresses giving an insight into an issue which is a reality for many people. There’s a sense of a moral dilemma about what justice really is which applies to a few plotlines.
Cover Your Tracks is a really compelling read, beautifully written, perfectly paced and an excellent addition to a crime series that just keeps getting better and better in my opinion.
My grateful thanks go to the author for sending me a copy of this book. Cover My Tracks is published by Hodder Books and available now in hardback and ebook formats. If you can, please support a local bookshop when you buy your copy. Alternatively, you will find buying options for various retailers on the Hodder website here: Cover Your Tracks
From the back of the book
‘What if I told you,’ he said, ‘that I believe my mother’s life to be in danger?’
Robertson Bennet returns to Edinburgh after a 25-year absence in search of his parents and his inheritance. But both have disappeared. A quick, routine police check should be enough – and Detective Inspector Helen Birch has enough on her plate trying to help her brother, Charlie, after an assault in prison. But all her instincts tell her not to let this case go. And so she digs.
George and Phamie Macdonald were together for a long time. No one can ever really know the secrets kept between husband and wife. But as Birch slowly begins to unravel the truth, terrible crimes start to rise to the surface.
Beautifully written and ingeniously plotted, Cover Your Tracks confirms Claire Askew as a major new talent in crime fiction.
About the author
Claire Askew is a poet, novelist and the current Writer in Residence at the University of Edinburgh. Her debut novel in progress was the winner of the 2016 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, and longlisted for the 2014 Peggy Chapman-Andrews (Bridport) Novel Award. Claire holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh and has won a variety of accolades for her work, including the Jessie Kesson Fellowship and a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award.
Her debut poetry collection, This changes things, was published by Bloodaxe in 2016 and shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and a Saltire First Book Award. In 2016 Claire was selected as a Scottish Book Trust Reading Champion, and she works as the Scotland tutor for women’s writing initiatives Write Like A Grrrl! and #GrrrlCon.