Reviews

The Girl in the Green Dress – Cath Staincliffe

About the Book: How far would you go to protect your child?

Can you really keep them safe? What if who they are puts them at risk?

And what if they have blood on their hands?

Teenager Allie Kennaway heads off for prom night, cheered on by her dad Steve and little sister Teagan.

But Allie never comes home, beaten to death in an apparent hate crime because of her transgender identity.

As police investigate the brutal murder, a crime that has appalled the country, one parent is at her wit’s end with her son’s behaviour. Are his outbursts and silences hiding something much darker than adolescent mood swings? And if her suspicions are correct, then what does she do?

Another parent will fight tooth and nail to save his boy from the full force of the law. After all, blood is thicker than water and everyone should look after their own. But if he succeeds then Allie and her family will never get the justice they deserve.

A groundbreaking story of love and hate, loyalty and betrayal, in a world of change.

About the Author:  Cath Staincliffe is a best-selling, award-winning novelist, radio playwright and the creator of ITV’s hit series, Blue Murder, starring Caroline Quentin as DCI Janine Lewis. Cath’s books have been short-listed for the British Crime Writers Association best first novel award, for the Dagger in the Library and selected as Le Masque de l’Année.

In 2012 Cath won the CWA Short Story Dagger for Laptop, sharing the prize with Margaret Murphy with her story The Message. Cath was shortlisted again with Night Nurse in 2014. Cath’s Sal Kilkenny private eye series features a single-parent sleuth working the mean streets of Manchester. Trio, a stand-alone novel moved away from crime to explore adoption and growing up in the 1960s, inspired by Cath’s own experience.

Letters To My Daughter’s Killer was selected for Specsavers Crime Thriller Book Club in 2014 and featured on ITV3s Crime Thriller Club. Cath also writes the Scott & Bailey novels based on the popular UK TV series.

Cath’s latest stand alone book, The Girl in the Green Dress, was inspired by her experience as the parent of a transgender child. It tells the story of a transphobic hate crime and asks the question: how far would you go to protect your child? Cath is one of the founding members of Murder Squad – a group of Northern crime writers who give readings, talks and signings around the country. Cath was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, UK and now lives in Manchester, Lancashire with her family. You can follow her on Twitter, @CathStaincliffe, which she does when she should be busy writing!

My Review:  From the outset you know you are in for a heartbreaking and thought-provoking roller coaster when reading anything written by Cath Staincliffe, so it comes as no surprise to know that this book really affected me and left me feeling like I’ve been through an emotional tsunami.

18 year old Allie Kennaway is excited to be going to her school prom with her two best friends to celebrate the end of school and the new chapter in her life.  4 hours later Allie is lying dead in a street, brutally killed in an apparent hate crime which shocks the entire community.

This story is sensitively told through the voices of Allie’s family, the various members of the police team tasked with finding her killers and the mother of a young teenage man who has become secretive and aggressive recently.

The topic of transgender is dealt with sympathetically and throughout the story I felt the pain, confusion and overwhelming love and support that Allie had from her late mother, her devastated father and her adoring sister.

My heart was slowing breaking from the beginning of the story and reading each characters feelings and following their individual journey made me catch my breath several times.  There were some truly powerful and thought-provoking stand-out moments which made me want to hold my children that extra bit tighter.  This is a story that got under my skin and will be in my thoughts for a long time.

 

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