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DS Coupland #1

Fragile Cord

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FRAGILE CORD is an emotional rollercoaster charting the psychological meltdown of a mother with a deadly secret.

What was Tracey Kavanagh so frightened of she thought wiping out her family was the answer?

Introducing Salford detectives Kevin Coupland and Alex Moreton as they investigate what appears to be a routine murder-suicide. For Alex Moreton, this case couldn't have come at a worse time, battling with her partner over whether to have another child, she is superstitious about pushing their luck - they're happy enough as they are...aren't they? DS Kevin Coupland is dealing with a serious assault outside a wine bar in Swinton. Devoted family man Ricky Wilson is brutally stabbed following an altercation with youths while out with his wife and their children to celebrate her birthday. Coupland and Moreton's cases merge when it transpires that Tracey and Ricky were tragically connected. Is it possible that there could be more to these two investigations than pure coincidence?

As the past collides with the present Coupland uncovers a tragic secret that will destroy Tracey's family, or what's left of it. Coupland must choose whether the truth shall come out - or be taken to the grave.

Fans of Mark Billingham and Angela Marsons will be gripped by this exceptional crime fiction series.
Watch out for more from D.S. Coupland:

A Detective battling personal tragedy, Kevin Coupland will stop at nothing to protect a key witness in a drive-by shooting. A PLACE OF SAFETY is the second book in the DS Coupland series. Book Eight in the series, Made To Be Broken, is due for release 27 May 22.

263 pages, ebook

First published May 10, 2013

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About the author

Emma Salisbury

12 books64 followers
I write gritty, crime fiction that focuses on the 'why'dunnit as well as the 'who'. I worked for a housing association supporting socially excluded men and ex-offenders, which provided me with a lot of inspiration. If you like hard-boiled crime writer Stuart MacBride then my Scottish crime series is for you. Fans of BBC series Happy Valley should try my Salford detective series for its unflinching realism and pace. Like living on the edge? Why not try both...

BLOOD SWEAT AND FEARS is the 9th book in my DS Coupland series. It is available to pre-order now!

Born and brought up in Manchester, I moved to Scotland 22 years ago. My inspiration initially came from working for a housing association supporting ex offenders into work.

Most evenings I can be found walking the family dog on the beach near our home in East Lothian, Scotland. You can find out more on my website www.emmasalisbury.com and I can be found on twitter @emmasauthor.

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5 stars
464 (29%)
4 stars
562 (35%)
3 stars
405 (25%)
2 stars
99 (6%)
1 star
33 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 99 reviews
Profile Image for A.
172 reviews3 followers
August 8, 2016
This book was all over the place. It spent too much time concentrating on the personal lives of the detectives rather than the case itself. This took away a lot of the thrill. Too much time was also spent on descriptions of the city/town of Salford. After the murder/suicide is introduced, there is no progress on the case until you are well toward the end of the book. In an effort to increase suspense, the author leaves threads and jumps somewhere else. This ends up increasing frustration rather than suspense. The central plot was interesting but the way it was told wasn't great.
There were also a lot of errors in editing.
Profile Image for Victoria Sayers.
7 reviews1 follower
February 2, 2015
I was really surprised by this. it had me gripped from the start. I think I was expecting it to be a hard book to read given the subject matter but even though the author doesn't pull her punches the detectives working on the case are so fully rounded I ended up being hooked into wanting to find out what happened not just about the two cases that are central to the story but also in Coupland and Moreton's private lives. Would definitely recommend this book and have already started on the follow up.
Profile Image for Mark Tilbury.
Author 26 books264 followers
January 7, 2015
Two seemingly unrelated investigations become connected when the police realize that links between a murder/suicide and a separate assault might be more than a coincidence.

I was gripped immediately by the prologue of this book and the thoughts of the mother in the school playground. I wondered why she was thinking such things and I had to keep reading.

There are quite a few characters to get to know in one go due to the two investigations. Once I got to know who was who I could concentrate on their personalities and interactions with each other. The two main characters, Kevin and Alex, are well written and how they investigate their cases is interesting and comes across as realistic.

Some parts of this book are not for the faint hearted, but as this is a police procedural story I thought that they were both necessary and important parts of the book. This book is a true page-turner that had me hooked from the first page. I hope there is more like this to come.
Profile Image for Annerlee.
242 reviews46 followers
July 18, 2015
Really well written, gritty and realistic. The book was thought provoking and the characters believable and well rounded. I especially liked the way the setting (Salford) permeated the book.

The first page can only be described as attention grabbing and hard hitting. The book describes the efforts of those affected to come to terms with the murder / suicide. WHY?!?

We meet people who are desperately trying to cope with their lives - with the the loss of loved ones and the effects of crime and war. 'It's a fragile cord that binds us to sanity...'

In all, excellent. I'll be reading the next in the series!
Profile Image for Alina.
12 reviews
August 19, 2014
Interesting plot, believable characters, realistic writing. There are no unnecessary details, the book is fast-paced and keeps you interested until the end.

The book follows a police enquiry into the shocking murder-suicide that took place within an apparently happy family. Why would a mother (pregnant with a second child) kill her son and then hang herself?

What I really liked about the book is that there are no hints along the way, nothing to make you guess what really happened, so you have to wait until you get to the end, when all the pieces fall into place.
Profile Image for Sharon.
186 reviews6 followers
October 25, 2014
A well written debut, with good lead characters in detectives Coupland & Moreton. The story flows nicely, with good pace & twist to the plot, & plenty of intrigue to keep you guessing & hooked. Without giving too much away, there is similarity to a very well know real life case, which seemed very obvious to me, but that could just be me, & I'd like to point out, that not for one moment am I suggesting its a copy of it, or based on it. Hope to see more of this author & hope this is the beginning of a series. Definitely recommend this.
Profile Image for Sarah.
2,603 reviews167 followers
December 27, 2015
Fragile Cord is the first book in the DS Coupland series.

I have to say the book description for this novel really grabbed me. I mean why on earth would a mother kill their child and then themselves? What is even weirder is that what looks like two totally unrelated crimes turn out to be connected.

Kevin Coupland and Alex Moreton were characters that I both liked. They are both good at their jobs but are having problems in their personal lives also. I could really sympathise with Alex, as a mother as well as a police officer, she is struggling to understand how any mother could do what Tanya has done to her son. It certainly seemed to make her question herself as a person as well as a mother.

As the story goes a long it becomes obvious there is a lot more to Tanya that even her own husband doesn't know. It certainly is a shocking read in parts which also took me by surprise as there are a few twists and turns in there.

Fragile Cord is a great starting point for a new series and look forward to seeing more of the main characters.

306 reviews3 followers
July 17, 2015
Really enjoyed this so have downloaded Book 2.
Profile Image for Fatimah.
210 reviews28 followers
August 27, 2016
Definitely a story that left you pondering
Profile Image for Carlton Phelps.
426 reviews10 followers
March 11, 2020
Gripping From The Beginning

This book grabs you by the throat and doesn't let you go until the last few pages.
There are two stories going on. The first is a murder and the second is a murder or not.
Multiple levels to the characters.
Love, hate, death and self realization.
Profile Image for Karl Wiggins.
Author 28 books301 followers
February 2, 2017
This story is dirty, gritty and I loved it. Emma Salisbury explores the underbelly of British crime, taking in an assemblage of sordid, shady and sleazy characters along the way as well as a wealthy respectable family with their own unexplainable tragedy to deal with. The two cases are as far apart as it’s possible to be. Obviously, they’re not connected
Many authors suffer from that completely understandable disease of wanting their characters to be liked. Salisbury endures no such misconceptions. Her characters aren’t likeable or charismatic in any way, shape of form. The reader may feel empathy for him, but it’s also difficult to like the recently bereaved father and husband.
Despite this there are mysteries here that need unravelling. Why did a wealthy mother with everything to live for murder a son she clearly doted on and then go to commit suicide? And who killed Ricky Wilson? And why?
Detective Sergeant Kevin Coupland and Detective Constable Alex Moreton have their own demons to deal with. Coupland’s recently been caught groping a female colleague and his wife’s none too happy about it, and Alex Moreton, whose husband wants to try for another child, fears that one day she could also flip and kill one of her own children.
All in all, this makes for an easily readable, engaging tale, and as a scribbler myself I have to applaud Salisbury’s audacity in writing a dirty, gritty story that hits the reader like a double hook followed by an unexpected uppercut.
Emma Salisbury is true to her craft
Profile Image for Mary Johnson.
792 reviews17 followers
November 12, 2017
This book held me but not by the tortuous question of who done it or by the twists and turns of those destined to keep you on tenterhooks as you read. It held me with its realism. The police: ordinary people doing and an extraordinary job. The victims: ordinary people just living their lives. The perpetrators of crime: some born to be typecast but not all.....

The book would make a chilling (if not thrilling) TV drama. Mundanity mixed with the cruel, soulless, heartbreaking acts and events that blandly fill The News each day. I will read more by this author.
Profile Image for Lynda Kelly.
2,038 reviews83 followers
November 28, 2014
Oh dear. Clearly proof-reading has been skipped in this. A real shame as I was enjoying the actual story and there's a lot to learn about the characters but I got totally worn down with the errors throughout and jacked it in at 16%.
Firstly TS Elliot was spelt wrong-it's Eliot and always has been...ouch. There's an issue with capital letters...one minute missing where they need to be (exocet) or added where they shouldn't be (Peritonitis/Relatives').
There were a lot of missed commas which you can sometimes get away with but at other times it just reads wrong-"Go and brush your teeth love" or "Usual Osman". Words were dropped from sentences like to and then the Wilsons got an apostrophe they didn't need. Sound bites isn't spelled bytes and coupla' isn't coupl'a and doner not donner. Straightforward is usually just one word and I gave in when she "waived" him away impatiently and switched off in disgust. Bear in mind I happened across this little lot barely a fifth of the way in !!
I liked her acknowledgement to her readers at the beginning-that was a nice touch, though.If she gets a proper editing exercise done I'd certainly have another go.
Oh, and my cover was different. It's a nicer one than the one shown here-a bluey street scene. Wish authors wouldn't do this.
Profile Image for Sarah.
879 reviews5 followers
June 15, 2016
This is the first book in the DS Coupland series but I have already read book 3 which I loved so for me this was a case of going back and filling in the gaps. The prologue to the story is a fascinating one. A boy comes out of school and hands his mother a drawing. With this she declares he must be killed. A murder, suicide follows and Coupland and his team are left to try and work out why.

As a first in the series a lot of characters are introduced but I think that this is well done and it isn't too difficult to work out who is who and a bit about them. The character of Coupland is an interesting one and one who clearly has a lot going on in his home life as well as trying to stay ahead of the game at work. His DC, Alex Moreton is facing pressure from her husband to have more children but how can she do that when she sees the horrors of life at work? The descriptions of Salford as a setting are really well written, they do add to the storyline greatly. I plan to start book number 2 very soon.
1,094 reviews
July 30, 2017
This is the first book in the DS Coupland series. Detectives Kevin Coupland and Alex Moreton investigate two unrelated crimes, but there is a connection.
The first is a murder / suicide. Tracy Kavanagh a happily married mother, pregnant with her second child, suddenly drowns her young son in the bath and then hangs herself. The other, devoted father Ricky Wilson is brutally stabbed while out with his family, celebrating his wife's birthday.
As Kevin and Alex investigate these crimes, it becomes apparent that the two cases merge, but how and why ?
Family secrets are uncovered and as the investigation continues, Kevin and Alex have personal issues of their own to deal with.
This story flowed nicely and there were lots of twists and turns in the plot along the way. It was an engaging story and I will look forward to reading the next book in the DS Coupland series.
469 reviews1 follower
July 5, 2017
Thought-provoking police procedural

The two protagonists here are DC Alex Moreton and DS Coupland (his first name doesn't matter). The police officers are trying to solve one crime and trying to make sense of another. A mother has killed her small son and then herself with her unborn child and Alex in particular is trying to understand how a mother could do such a thing, because what if one day she snapped and killed her own child? Coupland has his own demons to deal with while trying to make sense of this crime and solve a senseless murder. Shows how police officers are badly affected by horrible crimes, especially the murder of children. A really satisfying and intriguing read.
Profile Image for Stacey.
256 reviews1 follower
June 17, 2017
A terrific police procedural

Why would a young happily married woman suddenly decide to kill her young son and commit suicide? Alex, the young female detective investigating this with her seasoned partner Detective Coupland, wants desperately know. She also is a young wife with a young son. At the same time, there is an investigation concerning the stabbing murder of a man while on an outing with his family. The story is well done and really kept my attention. The characters were very well developed, all with their own baggage. Even after finishing the book, the characters and story lines are still with me. I will read more by this excellent author.
Profile Image for Joan.
2,193 reviews
August 10, 2016
Grindingly depressing but at the same time incredibly readable. I have to say I didn't like any of the characters until I was about two-thirds of the way through the story, but they gradually began to grow on me. The writing is great, the plot intricate enough to keep me guessing without becoming farcical and in the end I was left wanting more.

Four stars because early on I nearly gave up reading due to the grimness of it all !
Profile Image for Rebecca Hawkins.
84 reviews1 follower
November 4, 2017
Sad, but things happen.

This story keeps you guessing as to how life cannot be explained. Crime and ignorance will always be here, but there will be those who work for justice and in this case...truth. Children are to be loved and protected. Can the past control the future? Find out in this story.
Profile Image for Allison.
67 reviews1 follower
June 12, 2017
This is a cracker! Tightly written, engaging and satisfyingly complex...a book to get your teeth into. Relate-able main characters and secondary characters that you just hope get through their troubles. The baddies are mostly one dimensional...but they are going to jail anyway...I'll definitely be looking for more from this author and from this series! Well done!
Profile Image for Crystal w.
265 reviews4 followers
August 11, 2017
This is a great book, it does slow down in certain areas but keeps you reading. It follows a suicide and the detectives are trying to figure out why she did. Who would kill themselves and child. It seems unheard of. Well you follow the detectives and what they think and all that. It was really good and very interesting.
Profile Image for Staci Muir.
16 reviews2 followers
September 30, 2017
Started this book slightly puzzled as to which crime was the main plot but as the book progressed it all made more sense, this book shows all too well that appearances can be deceptive, the mothers character was (imo) similar to a swan....appears graceful, elegant, and tranquil-yet no one knows if it's paddling like f*** under water.
Definitely worth reading.
257 reviews
June 15, 2017
Thought provoking

The characters came to life and you could almost see them. At times it was difficult to read because it was so real and the subject matter involved tragedy.
I appreciated how the author intertwined the characters actions.
Profile Image for robert hinkle.
68 reviews
October 30, 2017

I really enjoyed this book. Emma Salisbury is a person to watch. I believe that she will go down as one of the best writers. Fragile Cord is a very good book. Well written!!
Profile Image for Julie Powell.
Author 68 books311 followers
August 29, 2015
A good, well written mystery that keeps you turning the pages.

A murder /suicide - why? That is the interesting hook.

Believable characters and a realistic and intriguing plot.
Profile Image for Pauline.
1,826 reviews29 followers
April 12, 2016
Good read. I know there is another book after this one but don't know if any more after that. Would be nice if there was.
32 reviews1 follower
June 5, 2017
Thoroughly enjoyed this - extremely well written, great plot & characters that you want to follow!!!!
17 reviews
June 6, 2017
Edge of your seat

Very captivating story. Holds your interest all the way to the end. I do wish the cop had told the father the rest of the story though.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 99 reviews

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