Cathy Ryan's Reviews > Sleeping Beauties

Sleeping Beauties by Jo Spain
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it was amazing
bookshelves: contemporary-fiction, crime-suspense, crime-thriller, police-procedural

A young woman has been reported missing. It’s uncertain whether Fiona Holland decided to leave of her own accord or whether it’s something else entirely. Her mother and sister are certain she wouldn’t have left her baby but in the small rural community Fiona had a reputation.

Detective Inspector Tom Reynolds and his team are called to Glendalough, a popular tourist spot in the Wicklow Mountains National Park, where a body has been found. It’s not long before it’s clearly visible to those working the scene, this wasn’t the only grave. There were five more clearly visible when Tom realised what they were looking at. It seemed a serial killer had been, and possible may still be, operating in Ireland.

None of the bodies are that of Fiona Holland and the race is on to find her, hopefully alive. Five families were going to receive the worst news. Tom fervently hoped there wouldn’t be any more but for now he had to focus his team on identifying the remains already uncovered.

The talk of a serial killer prompts massive amount of attention from the media and, added to that, Tom’s job isn’t being helped by Joe Kennedy, Sean McGuinness’ replacement. Tom, Shaun and their wives are longtime friends and the two men had a good working relationship. Joe Kennedy however, is insecure, more concerned with appearances and has a tendency to be manipulative to the point of hindering the team.

There appear to be several commonalities between the victims, including abuse from violent partners and a certain reputation for what was seen as indiscriminate and casual behaviour—mostly from intolerant and misogynistic locals with outdated standards. The women are humanised by flashback snippets of their lives and how they were taken. That combined with the police procedural and the personal and sometimes distressing life events of the recurring characters gives an appealing balance to the narrative.

As with all the stories so far in this series, pertinent issues are addressed. In Sleeping Beauties it’s sexual and physical abuse and, the idea that because of their lifestyle, some women ‘get what they deserve.’

Jo Spain has created another well plotted, fully rounded and compelling story with several surprises along the way. The police procedural and characters are realistic and, as always, Aoife McMahon’s narration is excellent.
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Reading Progress

July 5, 2019 – Started Reading
July 5, 2019 – Shelved
July 5, 2019 – Shelved as: contemporary-fiction
July 5, 2019 – Shelved as: crime-suspense
July 5, 2019 – Shelved as: crime-thriller
July 5, 2019 – Shelved as: police-procedural
July 22, 2019 – Finished Reading

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