So I agreed to review all three of Lorraine Mace’s D.I Sterling novels for Rachel’s Random Resources blog tour and after reviewing the first entry in the series I was chomping at the bit to read and review this one. As with other blog tours I’ve done (Which you can check out here and here) I feel the need to say upfront that I am doing this as part of a promotional blog tour but that in no way will influence my opinion on the book and so you can expect me to be honest, unbiased and as always fair in my review of this submission.
Okay now that we’ve got the legal bit out of the way I want to very quickly talk about the author, if you want a little more detail then check out my link to the review of the first entry above. Anyways Lorraine Mace is an English author, by way of South London but has lived all over the world in places such as South Africa, Gozo and France. She is currently based in the Costa del Sol in Spain but she doesn’t let the sun influence her writing because having read her first novel ‘Retriever of Souls’ she can take you to some dark places. Mace is also the author/co-author of titles such as The Writer’s ABC Checklist, Vlad The Inhaler: Hero In The Making and Notes from the Margin: A Writer’s Life all of which I urge you to check out. In the next few weeks I aim to get an interview with Lorraine but in the meantime make sure an keep up to date with her by checking out her website or following her on Twitter.
Next, let’s actually talk about the book, the series as a whole is a hard boiled crime fiction/thriller piece, which follows Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling as he attempts to unravel the various threads that lead from the crime to the criminal responsible. As a huge fan of the genre I’m always happy for new entries and having read the first novel in the D.I Sterling series I feel that Mace handles the genre exceptionally well. ‘Children in Chains’ specifically deals with Sterling investigating a child murder that leads him to discover a prostitution network that stretches from the seedy underbelly of society right to the highest rungs of society. We also see Sterling face of against someone that truly challenges him, and as every good hero is judged by his villain we see a whole new side to the Detective Inspector. ‘Children in Chains’ was officially published 21st February 2019 by Accent Press who have actually just slashed the price of the book until June 15th so get it just now for the bargain deal of 99p/99c across all Amazon stores while you can. Lastly, I want to add that the book does feature human trafficking and child prostitution which might not be to everyone’s taste, but it isn’t gratuitous or exceedingly graphic so while it might present a hard or emotional challenging read it is still worth reading.
So now on to the review, and it does not hold back, as mentioned up top it deals with some sensitive subjects but Lorraine manages to balance giving enough information and writing something that is evocative and grips the reader without being insensitive or overly graphic for shock value. It deals with the real grit and darkness that can and does exist in the world without glorifying it in any way. I tend to emotional connect with the text that I’m reading and so I found it hard at times to keep reading but for a book to draw that kind of reaction it has to be well written and ‘Children in Chains’ is definitely that.
Something I really like in a series is consistency, I name dropped one of my favourite crime/thriller writers in the previous review, Ian Rankin, who I also strongly suggest you check out and what I like about his work, other than that to date in my opinion he’s produced nothing but work that’s deeply compelling and well written is that each book is stand alone much like Mace’s books here and yet they remain consistent and reference each other and lead into one, characters develop between books but all the information, and the story is presented to you in such a way that you don’t need to read each book to understand the context. Mace has also managed this, she has already begun to build a world, and a character that works both consistently throughout each entry in the series and yet can be enjoyed independently.
Speaking of character, Sterling has really grown on me, in my review of the previous entry I noted that he was not some perfect character but a real, flawed human and that hasn’t changed but their is growth, and you even start to feel sympathy for him. He is struggling deeply with personal issues but he is still doing his job and that tells you all you need to know about him. Other characters develop throughout this novel as well, you can feel the team come together as the story unfolds and is adds to the realism, because while their is a certain ‘romanticism’ in a solo hero outgunned, it’s not entirely realistic to how police units work, so it’s good that Paolo has a team behind him.
All in all this book is as engaging as the previous one, which is a compliment particularly considering the subject matter of the book itself. I truly believe that Mace has a talent for the grim and the unseemly, because she can turn those topics into a gripping page turner that again I just couldn’t put down. So with that in mind I’d like to give ‘Children in Chains’ a 4/5 and I’m looking forward to reading the next entry.
First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org/