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Talking To The Dead by Harry Bingham (Orion, £12.99)
11:52am Saturday 21st July 2012 in Books
It is a brutal first case for rookie Cardiff detective Fiona Griffiths – a woman and her six-year-old daughter found violently killed in a dingy flat. The only clue: a bank card belonging to a long-dead tycoon found beside the bodies.
Fiona is resourceful and as smart as they come. But she also has a dark secret in her own past: a mysterious illness that afflicted her when she was a teenager and left her unable to cry or feel – and with a disconcerting affinity for the dead.
Her unorthodox investigations uncover a vile sex-trafficking ring in South Wales: but also leave her teetering on the brink of sanity.
Will she be able to bring the people-smugglers to book before she succumbs to her own inner demons...?
This is on one level an orthodox, if expertly-written, police procedural. But the character of Fiona lifts it to an altogether different, extraordinary level. She is childlike, brilliant, courageous and utterly loopy all at the same time – as well as devastatingly real and human and alone. The rare mental condition she suffers from, which leaves her almost literally ‘talking to the dead’, is based on real cases. She’ll haunt you long after you finish this book, and send you scurrying to find what else Bingham has written.