Source- Review copy/ netgalley
Publication date- 26th April, 2012
Everyone is hooked on something.
It’s not that easy to kick the money habit. After the world meltdown forces London’s bankers to go cold turkey, people look elsewhere for a quick quid: the old fashioned East End.
So when investigator Catherine Berlin gets an anonymous tip-off about a local loan shark, the case seems straightforward – until her informant is found floating in the Limehouse Basin.
In another part of town, a notorious doctor is murdered in his surgery, and his entire stock of pharmaceutical heroin stolen. An unorthodox copper is assigned to the case, and Berlin finds herself a reluctant collaborator in a murder investigation.
Now Berlin has seven days to find out who killed her informant, why the police are hounding her and, most urgently of all, where to find a new – and legal – supply of the drug she can’t survive without.
Smart, stylish and fast-paced, In Her Blood heralds the arrival of a remarkable new talent in crime fiction.
Review- In Her Blood is the crime fiction debut of Aussie author, Annie Hauxwell. Interestingly, the protagonist Catherine Berlin is an investigator leading a double-life as a heroin addict. Set in London during tough economic times, loan sharks are on the rise and one in particular becomes the subject of Berlin’s investigations. But things become more serious, more dangerous when one of her informants is found dead and the death is linked to loan shark, Archie Doyle. A second body is then linked to Berlin, her GP and drug supplier. Then Berlin becomes under the spotlight and has 7 days to help solve the crime and find a new legal drug supplier before she becomes the lead suspect of the murder investigations.
Apparently, the character of Berlin was inspired by Anna Kavan who wrote for many years while addicted to heroin- which makes for an interesting premise for the story in itself.
Berlin is an intriguing character and I had conflicted feelings about her throughout the story, there’s definitely a tough persistence about her that I found likeable but the fact she was a drug addict and in law enforcement made it difficult to categorize her in any way. There are times in desperation she is driven by her addiction and then there are times when she is driven by Berlin as the investigator and sometimes it was hard to decipher where one began and the other ended.
There’s plenty of action in In Her Blood along with many shady characters, set in the eerie, dark location of London. It was an interesting storyline and a complimentary setting but I didn’t feel like I could really relate to the characters and this is what stopped me from truly enjoying this book. I just felt removed from them and perhaps that’s because it is a crime fiction book and the focus was on the plot and the underlying drives and motivations of each of the characters. I’m sure it would be very much enjoyed by true crime fans who want to delve and if that’s your cup of tea then I would recommend giving this debut Aussie author a go.
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About the author: Annie Hauxwell was born in London and emigrated with her family to Australia when she was a teenager. She abandoned the law to work as an investigator for a private firm, and after working as a screenwriter she turned her hand to novels. She now lives in Castlemaine, Victoria, and travels to London frequently.
This book was read as part of the these two 2012 challenges: