I’ve been a fan of Cari Hunter’s writing ever since reading Snowbound. In this excellent thriller-romance debut, her vivid and economic style was already evident – very effective and affecting – as was her ability to bring alive brutal scenes in a way so realistic as to make many other books seem cartoonish. The injuries and scenes of violence are so intimately realised that if you didn’t know she was a paramedic by career you’d have serious misgivings about the author’s mental well-being and pastimes. But with Tumbledown, and even more so with No Good Reason, Cari is now delivering complex plots and sets of characters that go well beyond a simple adventure or thriller romance.
No Good Reason is classified as a crime novel but the reader is still in for an emotional rollercoaster as gripping as any romance. Free from the restrictions of the romance genre formula, the heroines in No Good Reason are two life-long friends who occasionally sleep together – a relationship that feels real and is refreshing to see in a lesfic novel and one which I think many readers may root for even more strongly. Meg (a medic) and Sanne (a policewoman) both become involved in a case of a young woman found horrifically injured on the Peak District moors from a fall and showing signs of torture. Investigations stay close to home, in the hills and the deprived city areas of the heroines’ backgrounds. The story unfolds skillfully, giving a feeling of following a genuine investigation rather than being mislead by literary red-herrings.
No Good Reason is a rich book with much to enjoy and admire. It has captivating settings from lonely moors to gritty northern city estates. The characters who span classes, careers and geography, from working class girls come good to slippery drug dealers, all ring true. Cari is a skilled writer and her unflowery and vivid style is particularly suited to crime. Her assured writing allows her to build layer on layer of story, setting and characterisation with captivating and beautiful detail and then casually twist the story to send chills down your spine, or ramp up the action to make your heart race.
Fans of lesfic and British crime really shouldn’t miss this one. A difficult one to beat Cari Hunter, but I hope you do.