Well, ‘Lane’ was a pleasant surprise. An action-packed, what’s-going-on, how-will-they-get-out-of-this page-turner short enough to be consumed in one sitting and too intriguing to be put down before I knew how it all worked out.
I’d come to ‘Lane’ after reading the first two of Peter Grainger’s DC Smith books, ‘An Accidental Death’ and ‘But For The Grace‘ which are both atmospheric and thoughtful police procedural novels with a strong DCI as the lead. I’d expected ‘Lane’ to be something similar, By the time I’d reached the second chapter, I knew I’d found something quite different. This is a story of a crime in progress, not the investigation of a murder and the main character, Lane, is a bit of a mystery from the beginning.
The story starts with a bored-widow and mother of a local police detective, Emily Willows, who has lived in her Cornish village for many years, being intrigued by her new, uncommunicative, runs-every-day-despite-having-a-slight-limp neighbour, who bought the cottage next door for cash, is in her thirties and yet claims to be retired. I was just settling down for a cosy mystery with Willows playing amateur sleuth and investigating Lane when something quite unexpected happened: Emily Willows suddenly finds herself in danger in her own home and her only hope of escape comes when her mysterious neighbour inserts herself into the situation. What follows is a fast-paced, action-packed drama in which Lane and Willows live off their wits while the reader tries to figure out what’s going on and who Lane is.
It was a thoroughly entertaining ride, that never lagged and often surprised me. My only regret was that the book is a novella, only 163 pages long, so it was over quite quickly. The ending isn’t a cliffhanger, there are no loose ends, but it ended just at the point where Willows is about to find out more about Lane. Still, that just means I need to read the second novella in the series, ‘One Way Ticket’ as soon as possible.
I recommend the audiobook version, narrated by Henrietta Meire. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.