- Author: Jan Newton
- Published: March 2017 by Honno Press
- Category; Crime, Mystery
A DS Kite novel – a city detective joins the mid-Wales force
bringing new insights and ruffling country feathers
Newly promoted DS Julie Kite is at a crossroads. Her husband’s desire for a different life takes her away from urban Manchester and its inner city problems to tranquil mid-Wales. It is to be a clean slate for them both. On her first day at Builth Wells police station, Julie is thrust unexpectedly into the centre of an investigation into a suspicious death in a remote farming community.
Back in Manchester, Stephen Collins is set free from HMP Strangeways. Bible in hand he makes his way to mid-Wales, the scene of the heinous crime for which he was imprisoned, in order to confront those who had a hand in his incarceration.
The twists and turns of the investigation into solicitor Gareth Watkin’s death force DS Kite to confront her own demons as well as those of her rural community and, ultimately, to uncover the lengths to which we’ll go to protect our families…
Julie Kite, newly promoted to Detective Sergeant, is leaving the Manchester Metropolitan Police force and the inner city life she’s used to, for rural Wales. Her husband, Adam, has a new teaching post in mid Wales and this is an opportunity for a fresh start for them both, and a last ditch attempt to save their marriage. Julie isn’t looking forward to the move but realises there’s too much temptation in the city.
Julie has no time to dwell on her misgivings. Her first day at Builth Wells police station sees her propelled into a possible suspicious death enquiry after a reported accident isn’t as straightforward as it at first seems. The enquiry seems connected to a previous case and stirs up long buried emotions.
‘So, it’s either murder, and a feeble attempt to make it look like suicide, or it is a suicide, but made to look like murder.’
‘That covers all the bases, then,’ said Swift.
‘Not quite, Sir.’ Julie turned back to the doctor. ‘He obviously didn’t come off that motor bike, not dressed like that.’
‘Well spotted, Sergeant, he didn’t. The biker’s in the ambulance. The poor lad’s got a badly broken leg and severe concussion.’ The doctor lifted the tape. Way up on the hill behind her there was a sudden flash of light, then another, and Julie watched as a figure darted away, quickly disappearing below the horizon.
Skilful story telling, a well crafted plot with plenty of twists and fleshed out characters. There’s not much more you ask from a debut novel. Julie is a sympathetic character, especially with the changes she’s coping with. Leaving her friends and colleagues, her home, everything familiar, and the reasons for it. She’s an interesting mix of self-possession and vulnerability. I’m not too sure about Adam, he’s still a bit of a mystery.
Jan Newton delineates between Julie’s urban and rural lifestyles extremely well with descriptions which give vivid images and sense of place. The remoteness of the farming communities and Julie’s new house contrasts well with the cityscape and flat she used to live in. Julie is initially uneasy with country living and the suspicion of some of the locals, who consider her an outsider. The resulting learning curve is very realistic, including working with an unfamiliar team and trying to fit in. Julie stands by her convictions regardless of peer pressure and isn’t afraid to speak her mind and she relaxes more into her home and work life as the story progresses.
Look forward to more DS Julie Kite.
I chose to read and review Remember No More based on a digital copy of the book supplied by Brook Cottage Books.
About Jan Newton
Jan grew up in Manchester and Derbyshire, spending her formative years on the back of a pony, exploring the hills and moorland around her home. She lived and worked in London and Buckinghamshire for 19 years until moving to Wales in 2005, where she learnt to speak fluent Welsh. Jan has won several writing competitions, including the Allen Raine Short Story competition, the WI Lady Denman Cup, and the Oriel Davies Gallery competition for nature-writing. She has been published in New Welsh Review.
A WORD FROM JAN NEWTON
I wrote my first novel when I was seven, all about the adventures of a little green one-legged spaceman, who crash-landed his tiny ship in my north Manchester suburb. We had plenty of adventures, Fred and me, filling fourteen Lancashire Education Committee exercise books and earning me two gold stars in the process. But when I was eight, a rotund Welsh Mountain Pony by the name of Pixie trotted into my life, and writing was immediately relegated in favour of all things equine.
It took more years than I care to admit for me to resume my writing career. In 2005 we moved to gloriously inspiring mid Wales. In 2009 I stumbled across an Open University creative writing module and the rest, as they say, is history. After completing my OU degree, I fulfilled a lifetime ambition and enrolled on an MA course at Swansea University. The whole experience was magical. It was like being taken by the hand and led back to a place where my imagination could run riot.
I began by writing short stories, which I love, but I always feel disappointed when I have to say goodbye to my characters so soon, and so the next challenge was to attempt a novel. It’s been a fantastic experience, from its shaky start in a brand new exercise book, but now, finally, I have my second novel. I still have a horse – this one’s been with me for over twenty years – but these days I seem to be able to allow the two obsessions – books and horses – to run side by side.