Salt Lane (DS Alexandra Cupidi #1) - Download Free Ebook Now
Hot Best Seller

Salt Lane (DS Alexandra Cupidi #1)

Availability: Ready to download

A murdered migrant is the first big case for the embattled DS Alexandra Cupidi in a new series by the acclaimed author of The Birdwatcher. No-one knew their names, the bodies found in the water. There are people here, in plain sight, that no-one ever notices at all. DS Alexandra Cupidi has done it again. She should have learnt to keep her big mouth shut, after the scandal th A murdered migrant is the first big case for the embattled DS Alexandra Cupidi in a new series by the acclaimed author of The Birdwatcher. No-one knew their names, the bodies found in the water. There are people here, in plain sight, that no-one ever notices at all. DS Alexandra Cupidi has done it again. She should have learnt to keep her big mouth shut, after the scandal that sent her packing - resentful teenager in tow - from the London Met to the lonely Kent coastline. Even murder looks different in this landscape of fens, ditches and stark beaches, shadowed by the towers of Dungeness power station. Murder looks a lot less pretty. The man drowned in the slurry pit had been herded there like an animal. He was North African, like many of the fruit pickers that work the fields. The more Cupidi discovers, the more she wants to ask - but these people are suspicious of questions. It will take an understanding of this strange place - its old ways and new crimes - to uncover the dark conspiracy behind the murder. Cupidi is not afraid to travel that road. But she should be. She should, by now, have learnt. Salt Lane is the first in the new DS Alexandra Cupidi series. With his trademark characterisation and flair for social commentary, William Shaw has crafted a crime novel for our time that grips you, mind and heart.


Compare

A murdered migrant is the first big case for the embattled DS Alexandra Cupidi in a new series by the acclaimed author of The Birdwatcher. No-one knew their names, the bodies found in the water. There are people here, in plain sight, that no-one ever notices at all. DS Alexandra Cupidi has done it again. She should have learnt to keep her big mouth shut, after the scandal th A murdered migrant is the first big case for the embattled DS Alexandra Cupidi in a new series by the acclaimed author of The Birdwatcher. No-one knew their names, the bodies found in the water. There are people here, in plain sight, that no-one ever notices at all. DS Alexandra Cupidi has done it again. She should have learnt to keep her big mouth shut, after the scandal that sent her packing - resentful teenager in tow - from the London Met to the lonely Kent coastline. Even murder looks different in this landscape of fens, ditches and stark beaches, shadowed by the towers of Dungeness power station. Murder looks a lot less pretty. The man drowned in the slurry pit had been herded there like an animal. He was North African, like many of the fruit pickers that work the fields. The more Cupidi discovers, the more she wants to ask - but these people are suspicious of questions. It will take an understanding of this strange place - its old ways and new crimes - to uncover the dark conspiracy behind the murder. Cupidi is not afraid to travel that road. But she should be. She should, by now, have learnt. Salt Lane is the first in the new DS Alexandra Cupidi series. With his trademark characterisation and flair for social commentary, William Shaw has crafted a crime novel for our time that grips you, mind and heart.

30 review for Salt Lane (DS Alexandra Cupidi #1)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    William Shaw begins this series featuring DS Alex Cupidi after introducing us to her in the excellent The Birdwatcher, set in the remote, atmospheric and isolated Kent coastline with its marshes. The story echoes many current social and political issues in Britain today, the anti-immigrant fervour, the lack of rights and inability to work faced asylum seekers, and the precarious and exploitative world of gangmasters and vulnerable migrant workers desperately needed to pick fruit and vegetables o William Shaw begins this series featuring DS Alex Cupidi after introducing us to her in the excellent The Birdwatcher, set in the remote, atmospheric and isolated Kent coastline with its marshes. The story echoes many current social and political issues in Britain today, the anti-immigrant fervour, the lack of rights and inability to work faced asylum seekers, and the precarious and exploitative world of gangmasters and vulnerable migrant workers desperately needed to pick fruit and vegetables on farms. Alex has settled into her new home after working at the Met in London, but her affair with a married cop which precipitated her move to Kent, comes back to haunt her in the present. Her daughter, Zoe, is a loner, and unlike many young teens, has become a passionate birdwatcher. Alex worries about her as the distance between them grows, and Zoe emanates a deep sadness that she fails to get to the bottom of. A body of a woman is found in the waters close to Salt Lane. It has been there for some time and the cause of death is hard to determine. The victim is eventually identified as Hilary Keen, and a visit to her son, Julian, to notify him of her death raises a surprising conundrum, Julian had seen Keen the night before, meaning his mother could not be their murder victim. Who is the real Hilary Keen? Another murder victim is discovered by a farmer in his slurry tank, a muslim North African man who had been assaulted prior to being killed. Alex finds herself working with the young, enthusiastic and keen Constable Ferriter, a woman with bags of courage and personality, who is emotionally hard hit by the first murders that she encounters. Alex's boss, DI MacAdam, finds himself having to face the stress and pressures of an IPCC investigation over his decisions that result in a man's death. Progress on the two cases is slow and laboured as questions asked of migrant workers reveal a wall of silence and fear. Cupidi and Ferriter slowly begin to get an inkling of the truth and the connections between the two murders as danger and menace begins to surround them. William Shaw weaves a great compelling and atmospheric crime story that is politically and socially relevant. Alex is a flawed central character, dogged in her determination to uncover the truth that lie behind the murders. She is neglectful of Zoe, which has her inviting her mother to stay, even though there is a difficult relationship between them. Shaw has done a sterling job in establishing her as a woman cop that commands interest, so much so that I am really looking forward to her next outing! This is an engaging and entertaining crime novel that I loved reading with a fantastic location. Many thanks to Quercus for an ARC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    The world is full of desperation. Desperation seems to be the driving force that makes one feel the pinpricks of their present existence. It bears no precise name, no precise locality. It visits upon the strong and the weak. It's the causal factor in being misguided, misinformed, and misjudging of the stranger who travels a far different road. Detective Sergeant Alex Cupidi still feels the uneasiness of her decision to leave the London Met Police and take on a new assignment with the Kent Police. The world is full of desperation. Desperation seems to be the driving force that makes one feel the pinpricks of their present existence. It bears no precise name, no precise locality. It visits upon the strong and the weak. It's the causal factor in being misguided, misinformed, and misjudging of the stranger who travels a far different road. Detective Sergeant Alex Cupidi still feels the uneasiness of her decision to leave the London Met Police and take on a new assignment with the Kent Police. Funny thing. Choosing to become a police nomad came upon her as she desired to leave her past life in the rearview mirror. A questionable relationship with her married senior officer, David Colquhoun, left her no choice but to make tracks in a different direction with her sixteen year old daughter, Zoe. That same desperation pits mother and daughter in quite the stand-off as each tries to find a new identity and a new existence. Zoe takes to the shore with her love of birdwatching. So much time as a solo figure out in the wind and the rain. Alex faces long hours committed to a profession that doesn't leave her much time to heal old wounds and bandage new ones. When the body of an older woman is found in the ditch water off Salt Lane, Alex is called to the crime scene. It's not too far from the cabin that Alex shares with Zoe. There is uncertainty of the identity of the female who appears to have been homeless. Even though the identity has been ID'd by a local dentist, Alex is not too sure. Soon another body is found in a tank on Horse Bones Farm. He appears to be an immigrant with no chance of ID. Are these bodies connected in any way? William Shaw tells a tale like no other. I discovered his stellar writing in The Birdwatcher which is one of my favorites of 2017. It is in The Birdwatcher that we first come across Alex and Zoe. (Salt Lane reads as a complete standalone.) Shaw takes us on a journey of the frailty of human nature and the deeply buried secrets we hover over within our lifetimes. He brings in the timetable of the past awash with the current challenges of today's world. There's an emphasis that nothing exists in pure black and white or solid cut and dry anymore. The world has changed drastically and the puzzle pieces take on the curves and edges of a different hue. A new mindset for a new world. Salt Lane is wonderfully written with characters that reflect humanity for the good, the bad, and the indifferent. Crime has existed since Cain and Abel. It's never going away any time soon. It is my hope that you also give yourself the opportunity to pick up The Birdwatcher. Both are literary treasures for sure. I received a copy of Salt Lane through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Mulholland Books (Quercus) and to the talented William Shaw for the opportunity.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    3.5 stars One of my favourite books of last year was The Birdwatcher. The MC was William South, a cop with a dodgy past who runs up against a new colleague named DS Alexandra Cupidi. In this outing she takes over the lead as a member of the Serious Crime team with Kent police. Alexandra arrived in the area as a transfer from the Met. After an affair with a colleague in London was discovered, she packed up teenage daughter Zoë & moved to Dungeness. It hasn’t been an easy transition for either o 3.5 stars One of my favourite books of last year was The Birdwatcher. The MC was William South, a cop with a dodgy past who runs up against a new colleague named DS Alexandra Cupidi. In this outing she takes over the lead as a member of the Serious Crime team with Kent police. Alexandra arrived in the area as a transfer from the Met. After an affair with a colleague in London was discovered, she packed up teenage daughter Zoë & moved to Dungeness. It hasn’t been an easy transition for either one of them. I won’t go into the plot too much, the book blurb gives a good recap. Initially there are 2 puzzling cases on Alexandra’s plate: a dead woman who seems to be in 2 places at the same time & the body of a migrant found in a farm slurry. There are multiple twists to each tale that keep you guessing & Alex seems to have a talent for getting into sticky situations. I must confess it took me along time to warm up to the MC. Understandably, she feels like a fish out of water in her new home & her involvement with the William South case didn’t exactly endear her to colleagues. Their relationships aren’t helped by her prickly personality but she does form an odd bond with Constable Jill Ferrier, her polar opposite. Her work ethic results in her being a largely absent parent & as Zoë becomes increasingly isolated & withdrawn, there were times I wanted to reach through the pages & give Alexandra a good shake. I was also a little confused about the sudden appearance of a former colleague from the Met. His short inclusion didn’t really add anything to the story & it slowed the pace around the much more intriguing murder investigations. It’s also a story about fitting in. Doesn’t matter if you’re an African migrant or cop from London. You’re clearly from away & don’t know the people, their past & customs. You have to learn the rhythm of local life which can be as difficult as navigating the fens. So while I initially found it hard to connect with Alexandra as I did with William South, she started to grow on me. Life in the fens weaves its spell & she goes from feeling like an outsider to thinking maybe, just maybe, she’s found a place she & Zoë belong. The author has a writing style that is eminently readable. That plus the intricate plot will keep you turning the pages to see how it all shakes out.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    The protagonist in this book is DS Alexandra Cupidi, who was a prickly, though secondary, character in The Birdwatcher. In that book, she was newly assigned to the Kent police. In Salt Lane, she and her daughter Zoë have now lived in the Dungeness area for a year. William Shaw's description of the area had me Googling for pictures. It is a flat, bleak, desolate area, and I found it fascinating. Cupidi was not taking motherhood as seriously as she should, frequently working long hours, and leavin The protagonist in this book is DS Alexandra Cupidi, who was a prickly, though secondary, character in The Birdwatcher. In that book, she was newly assigned to the Kent police. In Salt Lane, she and her daughter Zoë have now lived in the Dungeness area for a year. William Shaw's description of the area had me Googling for pictures. It is a flat, bleak, desolate area, and I found it fascinating. Cupidi was not taking motherhood as seriously as she should, frequently working long hours, and leaving Zoë to fend for herself. I thought it was no wonder Zoë was feeling sad and alone and seeking solace in birds and nature. After Cupidi invited her mother to come stay with them, the history of this family was slowly revealed. Shaw did a wonderful job portraying the relationships between the three generations. Cupidi often speaks and acts without thinking, which gets her into awkward situations. She’s a dedicated cop, and her boss is happy to have her on the team. Cupidi's partner, Constable Jill Ferriter, is eager and friendly which counters Cupidi perfectly. There was some understated humor between the two which made them more interesting. Both of the cases that were being investigated were interesting, and I never favored one over the other. One murder required digging into a woman's past. The other was contemporary involving the death of a migrant worker. Both were intricately plotted and held some surprises. Shaw's writing style makes for easy reading, and I hated to put the book down. Cupidi is a really interesting character, but I’d like her to be a more engaged mother. I hope it’s not too late. I think she learned some lessons about family and friendship in this book. I’m curious to see what Shaw has in store for her, both personally and professionally, in future books. I thank Little, Brown and Company for offering this complimentary book to me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Truman32

    The best mystery novels stay with you in a melancholy haze long after you close the cover for the last time. Why is this? The mystery is solved and the criminals are usually dealt with. It may be because the best mysteries, the ones that really matter, shine a light on the dark circumstances and desperations that cause folks to hurt one another. Conditions so harsh that their only choice is to break the law… even kill. These stories illuminate the ills of society brighter than the glare of a det The best mystery novels stay with you in a melancholy haze long after you close the cover for the last time. Why is this? The mystery is solved and the criminals are usually dealt with. It may be because the best mysteries, the ones that really matter, shine a light on the dark circumstances and desperations that cause folks to hurt one another. Conditions so harsh that their only choice is to break the law… even kill. These stories illuminate the ills of society brighter than the glare of a detective’s flashlight as they investigate the halls of a spooky Dartmoor estate. They enlarge the inequalities and hardships of certain lives clearer than a clue caught in Sherlock Holmes’s magnifying glass. They scream for the reader’s attention louder than the howls of a perp being roughly interrogated by a cop with a telephone book in the back of a dark alley. William Shaw’s excellent new mystery, Salt Lane is just such a book. Days, weeks, months and even decades after you finish this beauty the story will follow you around like a needy beagle pup just adopted from the shelter. It will remain with you like that super large bowl of spicy tom yum goong soup you had for lunch that is causing the enzymes and bicarbonate in your small intestines to form a breakdancing crew specializing in wild air flares, erratic head spins, and turbulent windmills. It will permeate your very existence like the offensive spray spritzed from the anus of an angry skunk onto that aforementioned puppy that was just trying to make a new friend. And it will endure, not unlike that full back tattoo of metal band Iron Maiden’s skeleton-monster mascot, Eddie you got back in the early ‘90’s because you thought it made you look “edgy”. Detective Sgt. Alexandra Cupidi, from Shaw’s previous book (the likewise stellar The Birdwatcher) is still living on the coastal wetlands of Kent. Cupidi clashes with her teenage daughter, she is estranged from her mother, and she struggles to connect with her new partner, the exasperatingly chipper Constable Jill Ferriter. Her life is a complicated jumble of personal fires and she seems to never have enough flame squelching chemicals in her personal extinguisher to put them out for more than a quick moment. But at work she shines. And that’s a good thing as the nearly naked body of a dead woman is fished out of a drainage ditch. Soon another body is found in a local farmstead’s manure pit. The story weaves in immigrant workers, a tragic fire from the past, and bygone regrets into a touching story that would make even the frozen face of a highly botoxed supermodel quiver and contort with emotion. This is a good one folks. Shaw’s procedural will keep mystery lovers guessing whodunit. It will make lovers of fine writing seize and convulse in pleasure with such orgasmic aplomb that many parents will feel forced to call the police just to protect the innocence of their lovely children. And it will make librarians give anyone checking it out the ol’ stink-eye because they know with a book this good it is not going to be returned on time. Salt Lane is highly recommended!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Having really enjoyed, “The Birdwatcher,” I was delighted to see D S Alexander Cupidi come centre stage in the first of a new series. Cupidi left London for Kent, after having an affair with a married colleague, and relocated with her daughter, Zoe. Zoe is a troubled teenager, who has taken to birdwatching, after tagging along with William South, in the prequel novel. Unhappy at school, she spends her time on the Kent marshes and seems to have no friends of her own age. Alex is aware of her isol Having really enjoyed, “The Birdwatcher,” I was delighted to see D S Alexander Cupidi come centre stage in the first of a new series. Cupidi left London for Kent, after having an affair with a married colleague, and relocated with her daughter, Zoe. Zoe is a troubled teenager, who has taken to birdwatching, after tagging along with William South, in the prequel novel. Unhappy at school, she spends her time on the Kent marshes and seems to have no friends of her own age. Alex is aware of her isolation, unhappiness and the fact that she is not spending enough time with her daughter, but she is also very career driven and apt to get caught up in the cases she is working on. In this novel, we get to know a little more about her, as we learn more about the affair which caused her to leave London and of the difficult relationship she has with her own mother. In this book, Cupidi is dealing with two cases. One, the body of a woman found in Salt Lane, whose identity is not as clear cut as it first appears. Secondly, the body of a migrant worker, whose battered body is also discovered in the Kent countryside. For many of us, crime appears to be a city problem, but William Shaw has intelligently unearthed some of the problems faced by more rural areas; including the use of illegal immigrants in seasonal work and the secrecy among migrant workers, living undercover. Working alongside Cupidi is the young, enthusiastic Constable Ferriter. She is full of ideas, and courage, but is also quite vulnerable and touched by the people she comes into contact with. Indeed, vulnerability is the theme of this crime novel, which is more literary, than fast paced. William Shaw always writes strong characters, as well as involved, intricate plots, and he deftly weaves a world where you see that the police are very much involved with, and touched by, the most vulnerable members of society. Indeed, for some of the characters of this book, they are outside society – marginalised by everything from immigration papers to lifestyle choices. I have enjoyed William Shaw’s novels since his very first, Breen and Tozer book. Although I do really love that series, I also really loved this clever, contemporary crime novel. Unlike, “The Birdwatcher,” which also had a historical aspect, being partly set in Northern Ireland, during the Troubles, this is very much a modern crime novel, with relevant, contemporary issues. I look forward to reading anything else that William Shaw writes – he is one of my very favourite crime writers and never disappoints.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Wonderful. Great writing, great location, great protagonist, brilliant characters and a socially relevant and emotionally resonant plot. All the ticks in all the boxes. Loved it. Full review to follow nearer publication.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    SALT LANE is the first book in the Alexandra Cupidi series. However, Alexandra first showed up in the book THE BIRDWATCHER, which I haven't read (yet). I read a lot of crime novels and I was curious to see if this one would be to my taste. I'm glad to say that I liked this book and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    4 stars Salt Lane is book #1 in the DS Alexandra Cupidi series. “The Birdwatcher” introduced DS Cupidi but she was not the main character and the book is considered to be a prequel for this new series, so if a reader wanted to start with this book, by all means go ahead. DS Alexandra Cupidi is currently with the Kent police force after leaving the London police. She needed a break from a disastrous relationship in London so her and her daughter, Zoe have moved into a small cottage on a rocky beac 4 stars Salt Lane is book #1 in the DS Alexandra Cupidi series. “The Birdwatcher” introduced DS Cupidi but she was not the main character and the book is considered to be a prequel for this new series, so if a reader wanted to start with this book, by all means go ahead. DS Alexandra Cupidi is currently with the Kent police force after leaving the London police. She needed a break from a disastrous relationship in London so her and her daughter, Zoe have moved into a small cottage on a rocky beach in Dungeness. As any mother of a teenager, DS Cupidi is always worried about having Zoe on her own during the summers. A case develops involving the discovery of an older woman’s body in a drainage ditch after some heavy rains and flooding. The woman has no identification and is believed to be a homeless/rough sleeper. Soon, another body is discovered on farm land near the drainage ditch and again there is not identification of the man. He is a younger black male believed to be an immigrant working for the farms and therefore should have papers. DS Cupidi and her partner DC Ferriter are out to investigate who this man was and where did he come from? And, with the cases located so close together, is there a link? DS Cupidi and DC Ferriter will find it near impossible to investigate immigrants who want to avoid the police and immigration at all costs. Very well written book and I found it to be quite timely. This takes place in England but can be said to be relevant in multiple countries that have taken an influx of immigrants. Migrant workers are needed in countries to work however, not everyone working is a legal migrant worker. Many employers who cannot hire residents or legal workers will turn a blind eye and hire the migrants. Since everyone involved wants to keep this quiet, many abuses can take place. Author William Shaw has done an excellent job of highlighting this plight. Highly recommend. Thank you to Little, Brown and Company publishing and Ira for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    3.5 stars After a slightly slow start, this picks up and develops into an engrossing plot - before slowing down again into a melodramatic finish with a left-field and unconvincing 'villain'. At 450 pages, the story stalls in places and could have been tightened up by losing 50-100 pages of padding. DS Alex Cupidi (is that a real name?), first introduced in The Birdwatcher, now takes centre stage and, personally I could have done without the soap-opera elements of her vexed relationships with teena 3.5 stars After a slightly slow start, this picks up and develops into an engrossing plot - before slowing down again into a melodramatic finish with a left-field and unconvincing 'villain'. At 450 pages, the story stalls in places and could have been tightened up by losing 50-100 pages of padding. DS Alex Cupidi (is that a real name?), first introduced in The Birdwatcher, now takes centre stage and, personally I could have done without the soap-opera elements of her vexed relationships with teenage daughter and mother, plus the insertion of a former married lover. More realistic and interesting is the development of her relationship with her subordinate/partner. The police procedural elements of the story are handled well, along with the internal politics of policing. The plot of illegal migrants and asylum seekers has become the go-to for any commercial crime writer wanting to flag their social commentary skills, and such is the case here. It's handled fairly but predictably. And I guess that's my overall verdict: this hovers somewhere above the trashy end of the crime genre and below the more literary end. I liked it, didn't love it, and there's a kind of lack of personality and competent blandness that prevents it standing out in a very crowded marketplace: 3.5 stars for being readable but forgettable.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I loved The Birdwatcher, which introduced Alexandra Cupidi. I absolutely applaud William Shaw, for giving her a series. Salt Lane can definitely be read as a standalone. I do recommend reading The Birdwatcher, which is a strong prequel. It really sets the scene and tone. In The Birdwatcher, we met Alex Cupidi, a delightful straight talking woman. She had left London and moved to rural Kent. This was all because of a relationship with a married colleague. Alex has a teenage daughter, Zoe, who disc I loved The Birdwatcher, which introduced Alexandra Cupidi. I absolutely applaud William Shaw, for giving her a series. Salt Lane can definitely be read as a standalone. I do recommend reading The Birdwatcher, which is a strong prequel. It really sets the scene and tone. In The Birdwatcher, we met Alex Cupidi, a delightful straight talking woman. She had left London and moved to rural Kent. This was all because of a relationship with a married colleague. Alex has a teenage daughter, Zoe, who discovered the delights of birdwatching. Salt Lane adds flesh to the bones of this; as we see Alex with her mother and the man, she had an illicit affair with. She gets two gritty cases to get her teeth into. Plus she gets a courageous sidekick, in the form of Ferriter. Cupidi is seeking the killer of a migrant worker on a farm, in appalling circumstances. She is also investigating the death of a woman found in the water at Salt Lane. Shaw has much to say on immigration and the hidden world of illegal workers. We are soon drawn into the murky world, of people who have been refused leave to remain in the UK and are living in the shadows. It is very clear that our economy is reliant on low paid agricultural workers, who are prepared to work picking and packing fruit and vegetables. We need them. Salt Lane was excellent. We get a quirky central lead in Cupidi and an intelligent storyline, well told. This is the kind of book that makes you want to beg for more, from the author. Recommended.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    A accomplished author who has created a new police series set around Dungeness. In DS Cupidi he has created a wonderful detective instinctive and headstrong. Often guilty of saying too much too quickly and speaking her mind without thinking. Her move out from London is due to her relationship with another police officer and she is conscious of this history, mistakes made delaying her career and the pressure this has brought on her daughter. The themes that link this novel are many and complex. On A accomplished author who has created a new police series set around Dungeness. In DS Cupidi he has created a wonderful detective instinctive and headstrong. Often guilty of saying too much too quickly and speaking her mind without thinking. Her move out from London is due to her relationship with another police officer and she is conscious of this history, mistakes made delaying her career and the pressure this has brought on her daughter. The themes that link this novel are many and complex. On the face of it these include relationships, mainly as a Mother; Alex Cupidi with her daughter Zoe and Helen her own Mother. In addition forgotten hidden societies whether New Age travellers, homeless and modern day issues with migrant workers and failed asylum seekers. Finally the role of the police is looked at indirectly in how they can exasperate situations and turn issues into criminal activities and serious incidents. Perhaps not learning from her default position of working on instincts and feeling safer than in the demanding streets of London. Maybe it is just her approach to policing but on a number of occasions Alex’s drive and pursuit I. The investigation leave her vulnerable. But perhaps she thinks a heavy response cannot be made silently and people can scatter and evidence lost. Shaw examines this very well without coming down on one side or critiquing his protagonist. A thrilling climax makes use of this but allows for a brilliant ending and room to question the realities of immigration not as exploitation but in human terms. I love this author’s writing, his humility and creativity. I hope with this novel his popularity will increase and his head will swell slightly to see and receive the acclaim he richly deserves. A pleasure to read and review. Out May 3rd - Happy Publication day!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    I am very angry at this book for somehow sneaking under the radar. I was a big fan of Shaw's last book, THE BIRDWATCHER, and this follow up (which appears to be the start of a new series) is a worthy successor, I'm just mad it took me so long to find out about it. (wyd Mulholland Books??? we just want to love you???) I love a procedural. I also nitpick procedurals to death and can rarely find ones that measure up to my standards. While SALT LANE follows a pretty traditional formula (procedural th I am very angry at this book for somehow sneaking under the radar. I was a big fan of Shaw's last book, THE BIRDWATCHER, and this follow up (which appears to be the start of a new series) is a worthy successor, I'm just mad it took me so long to find out about it. (wyd Mulholland Books??? we just want to love you???) I love a procedural. I also nitpick procedurals to death and can rarely find ones that measure up to my standards. While SALT LANE follows a pretty traditional formula (procedural that ends up intertwining with the detective's personal life, subplot of detective's conflict with co-workers and department, slow building feeling that a set of crimes are all connected, detective putting themselves in peril due to their stubborn devotion to their case, ripped from the headlines current events as central theme, etc etc) and even though I felt it hitting these familiar beats, I also felt it pushing back against them. In the midst of the policing and detecting and violence, Alex goes to a book club and eats dinner with her daughter and teases her partner about the guy who likes her and brings a grounded center to the story that makes it much easier to keep your balance when the wheels start turning faster and faster. (Sorry, that's like 3 mixed metaphors.) Alex feels like a real person, which is crucial. But more than that, the policing stuff felt pretty real, too. Often the detective who insists a set of crimes must be connected based solely on a hunch is a huge eye roll from me. But here, Alex has more than a hunch and following her as she tries to find the connecting threads between two crimes feels like real detecting and not just filler until a great epiphany. Alex finds real things, bit by bit, and just like her, you as the reader see that there's something there but it isn't clear what. It's rare that I actually agree with a detective's evaluation of the case, but here I was right with her. When Alex needs to ask her mother about something for a major plot point, it doesn't feel ridiculously coincidental, it feels natural, like the rest of the book. And, even better, when it all does come together it feels earned. And it feels like you should have put it all together ages ago. Surprise and inevitability mixed together make the best kinds of endings. I do have a few nits to pick, but they mostly came after I'd finished the book and not while I was racing through it. The migrant worker subplot mostly worked for me, though it created a few moments where I was nervous it would really screw it up. And while it opens up this secret world, it only takes the smallest peek at it instead of really diving in. Is this what would really happen? Most likely. Cupidi is a realist and so is this book. Solid, quick read, looking forward to the series.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Thebooktrail

    Visit the locations in the novel here A very fine read. Social commentary mixed with the evocation of a landscape which seeps into the story so that it becomes the story. Great characters too with backstories I can' wait to find out more about. There's something very eerie and ethereal about the marshes and this book brings them out and shines a light on them. An immersive way of writing and keen observations complete with killer dialogue makes this a real reading treat. The land is inhospitable Visit the locations in the novel here A very fine read. Social commentary mixed with the evocation of a landscape which seeps into the story so that it becomes the story. Great characters too with backstories I can' wait to find out more about. There's something very eerie and ethereal about the marshes and this book brings them out and shines a light on them. An immersive way of writing and keen observations complete with killer dialogue makes this a real reading treat. The land is inhospitable in places and this is reflected on the poor illegal immigrants forced to work for peanuts in back breacking work on farms and marshland. The story built slowly but each piece fell into place and created a jigsaw of emotions. Romney Marsh holds many secrets it would seem and the story revealed them one by one. This novel really shone for me as it weaves social commentary, great writing and unique observation of landscape into one neatly tied package. It’s grim in parts but there’s a raw quality in its brutal honesty and I found myself slowing down to appreciate it even more. A great first in a series. I’m definitely on board for book two although I will have to stop thinking that the main character is called Cupid. Next book now Mr Shaw please!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Tomasso

    I would like to thank Netgalley and Quercus Books for an advance copy of Salt Lane, the first novel to feature DS Alex Cupidi of Kent police. Alex has recently transferred from the Met to Dungeness and is still feeling her way when she is called out to a dead body found in a ditch in Salt Lane. They are still trying to identify the woman and her cause of death when another body is found in the slurry pit of a local farm. This one they believe to be an illegal immigrant and in the course of trying I would like to thank Netgalley and Quercus Books for an advance copy of Salt Lane, the first novel to feature DS Alex Cupidi of Kent police. Alex has recently transferred from the Met to Dungeness and is still feeling her way when she is called out to a dead body found in a ditch in Salt Lane. They are still trying to identify the woman and her cause of death when another body is found in the slurry pit of a local farm. This one they believe to be an illegal immigrant and in the course of trying to identify him they uncover a hidden underbelly to the rural Kent countryside. I thoroughly enjoyed Salt Lane which, apart from being an exciting, absorbing read, is very informative on the plight of illegal immigrants and the sharp practice surrounding them. The novel is told from Alex's point of view so the reader knows only what she discovers (a lot). This makes for a great read as the reader tries to work out what is going on and beat her to the punch! I guessed some of it in advance of her but there are a few twists, especially, unconventionally, at the beginning, which threw me off completely. Nevertheless the novel held my attention from start to finish and I read it in one sitting as it is well paced with both reveals and action appearing steadily to maintain the flow. Alex Cupidi is an interesting character. She is brusque, to the point of rudeness sometimes, and doesn't do small talk and yet her brutal honesty makes people talk to her and trust her although this doesn't seem to extend to her mother and daughter with both of whom she has troubled relationships. I found myself liking her from the start. Salt Lane is a good read which I have no hesitation in recommending.

  16. 4 out of 5

    James

    This is the second novel of William Shaw’s that I’ve read and while it’s the start of a new series, it follows on somewhat from the previous novel of his that I read, The Birdwatcher. In that novel DS Alexander Cupidi was a secondary character, but here she steps centre stage. When the body of a woman is found in a body of water in the titular marshland of Salt Lane, the Kent police are somewhat stumped. She doesn’t appear to have drowned and nor does the body have any obvious injuries that migh This is the second novel of William Shaw’s that I’ve read and while it’s the start of a new series, it follows on somewhat from the previous novel of his that I read, The Birdwatcher. In that novel DS Alexander Cupidi was a secondary character, but here she steps centre stage. When the body of a woman is found in a body of water in the titular marshland of Salt Lane, the Kent police are somewhat stumped. She doesn’t appear to have drowned and nor does the body have any obvious injuries that might account for her death. When a second body, that of an illegal immigrant is found in a cesspit, they are at first unsure whether the cases are linked. Cupidi and her team investigate and are soon drawn into the twilight world of illegal immigration, gangmasters, and exploitation. Salt Lane is both a police procedural and a slice of social commentary. The procedural element works well, the author avoiding the mistake of some writers who have their protagonist do all the work and solve the crime alone. Murder investigations, in the UK at any rate, are team efforts and this is depicted well. While DS Cupidi has a touch of that well-trodden trope – the maverick who finds it hard to play by the rules – this isn’t overly done. Rather she’s a believable character, likeable and committed. The police procedure element of the novel is also handled adeptly; it didn’t surprise me to learn when reading the acknowledgments at the back that the author consulted Graham Bartlett in the course of researching the novel, Bartlett being a former police officer in Brighton who has long advised the author Peter James. This then made it all the more galling when in the narrative a female officer is referred to as a WPC. The use of the term WPC (Woman Police Constable) is archaic and has long been consigned to the dustbin. All officers are now just PCs (unless they’re in the detective branch of course, when the P is swapped for a D for detective). While this only occurs twice and on the same page, the use of such an antiquated term, especially when the novel has been so thoroughly researched, did stick in my craw somewhat. As mentioned, Salt Lane has a strong element of social commentary. Once again, the author has researched this thoroughly, as I can attest to from my career researching current affairs documentaries for Channel 4. Many a film I worked on looked at immigration and the twilight world of illegal immigrants who prop up the economy, often doing the hard, hazardous and underpaid work that other workers balk at. Salt Lane depicts this world powerfully. Whole swathes of the UK’s agricultural sector operate on the sweat of these workers and it is doubtful we would enjoy the cheap food that stocks our supermarket shelves without them. Salt Lane is an excellent start to a new series. This is a long novel, running at 464 pages, which allows Shaw to weave through various sub-plots and flesh out Cupidi’s complicated family life, which I’m sure will develop further in future outings. While I enjoyed the novel, I have to confess to be a little jaded by police procedurals and preferring something a little more to the noir end of crime fiction. That said, this is an enjoyable novel and I will certainly read the next volume in the series when it hits the bookshelves.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maine Colonial

    William Shaw is the author of the excellent Breen and Tozer series 2017’s The Birdwatcher. Although Salt Lane is called #1 in the Alexandra Cupidi series, in a sense it’s #2, because Cupidi is a featured character in The Birdwatcher. One of the cases in Salt Lane is the death of an identified woman. This turns into quite a mystery, as it appears that the victim and a homeless person who turns up in London share a name, and one may be impersonating the other. The other case is the murder of an uni William Shaw is the author of the excellent Breen and Tozer series 2017’s The Birdwatcher. Although Salt Lane is called #1 in the Alexandra Cupidi series, in a sense it’s #2, because Cupidi is a featured character in The Birdwatcher. One of the cases in Salt Lane is the death of an identified woman. This turns into quite a mystery, as it appears that the victim and a homeless person who turns up in London share a name, and one may be impersonating the other. The other case is the murder of an unidentified man, who appears to be an undocumented immigrant. Trying to find out that victim’s identity leads Cupidi and her new DC, the young and outspoken Jill Ferriter, into the world of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, who live in a shadow world of illegal labor and exploitation. DS Cupidi is a London transplant to the coastal town of Dungeness in Kent. She left London because she wanted to break off a relationship with a married colleague. She brought along her teenage daughter, Zoë, who is a troubled young woman. In this book, we also learn more about Cupidi’s personal life. Her mother, a retired police officer, comes to Dungeness (reluctantly), and we learn why the relationship between Cupidi and her mother has always been problematic. Cupidi’s past affair also rears its ugly head. In fact, it’s almost nothing but trouble for Cupidi, who is a talented detective, but not so great at personal relationships. This new character, Jill Ferriter, brings some welcome lightness to the story. She’s like a puppy, she just keeps bouncing back with questions and remarks, no matter how much Cupidi may try to keep her quiet and under control. Jill’s character also shows how someone can have an attitude toward immigrants that is changed when she meets then and learns their stories and current circumstances. Like all of William Shaw’s books, this is a well-written and plotted police procedural that makes us care about its characters without becoming too domestic. His descriptions of the wild and often lonely Dungeness is vivid, too.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lainy

    Time taken to read - 2 days Pages - 400 Publisher - Quercus books Source - Review copy Blurb from Goodreads A murdered migrant is the first big case for the embattled DS Alexandra Cupidi in a new series by the acclaimed author of The Birdwatcher No-one knew their names, the bodies found in the water. There are people here, in plain sight, that no-one ever notices at all. DS Alexandra Cupidi has done it again. She should have learnt to keep her big mouth shut, after the scandal that sent her packing - Time taken to read - 2 days Pages - 400 Publisher - Quercus books Source - Review copy Blurb from Goodreads A murdered migrant is the first big case for the embattled DS Alexandra Cupidi in a new series by the acclaimed author of The Birdwatcher No-one knew their names, the bodies found in the water. There are people here, in plain sight, that no-one ever notices at all. DS Alexandra Cupidi has done it again. She should have learnt to keep her big mouth shut, after the scandal that sent her packing - resentful teenager in tow - from the London Met to the lonely Kent coastline. Even murder looks different in this landscape of fens, ditches and stark beaches, shadowed by the towers of Dungeness power station. Murder looks a lot less pretty. The man drowned in the slurry pit had been herded there like an animal. He was North African, like many of the fruit pickers that work the fields. The more Cupidi discovers, the more she wants to ask - but these people are suspicious of questions. It will take an understanding of this strange place - its old ways and new crimes - to uncover the dark conspiracy behind the murder. Cupidi is not afraid to travel that road. But she should be. She should, by now, have learnt. Salt Lane is the first in the new DS Alexandra Cupidi series. With his trademark characterisation and flair for social commentary, William Shaw has crafted a crime novel for our time that grips you, mind and heart. My Review This is book two featuring DS Alexandra Cupidi although you can read this as a standalone, however I really enjoyed The Birdwatcher and you get insight into the characters. Whilst you can get away with starting here I would suggest reading The Birdwatcher, it is a great book and gives you more info on some of the characters. A migrant worker is found murdered, a son's mother appears from nowhere and almost as quickly disappears again. This is Cupidi's chance to prove herself, after having left in scandal her last post and bringing her daughter with her she has a lot to prove. To her team, her daughter and herself but as with life when you are dealing with one aspect of your life others creep in. Her affair haunts her, her strained relationship with her mother, something isn't right with her daughter and now bodies are turning up brutally murdered, she has a lot on her plate. I do enjoy how Shaw writes, you slide into the characters lives quickly and Cupidi has more going on than a soap opera. I really want more insight into her relationship issues with her mother, I need to know what is the chat with her daughter. I would love to hear again from a character who was in The Birdwatcher and whilst he doesn't appear in this book her colleagues are still reeling from what happened and it impacts on her relationships with them. I love that we have strong females characters that are human, have flaws but still manage to hold their own and aren't swooning at a man's feet which we see in abundance in many books these days. This is a great start to a new series (or book two depending on what way you look at it), I think the foundations are strong and look forward to the next. I need answers to my questions, I want to see how Cupidi and her daughter get on and where Cupidi's career takes her next. She is a bit of an impulsive character but she also has a heart which I think makes for a great character, someone readers can warm to. There is a lot of focus on the investigation so you don't get bored with the relationship side of the story if that isn't your thing. I think the book offers something for everyone, police procedure, family angst, murder and intrigue. 3.5 out of 5 for me this time, not only am I looking forward to the next (I hope there is another in the series) I am going to check out his other series!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Raven

    Having made the acquaintance of DS Alexandra Cupidi some time ago in The Birdwatcher , a wonderfully atmospheric thriller set against the backdrop of the bleak coastline of Dungeness, prepare to be completely absorbed as she makes her return in Salt Lane. Not only is this a well plotted and compelling police procedural, once again using this particular landscape to its full brooding and slightly sinister effect, but Salt Lane reveals itself to be so much more. When you cast your eye over the back Having made the acquaintance of DS Alexandra Cupidi some time ago in The Birdwatcher , a wonderfully atmospheric thriller set against the backdrop of the bleak coastline of Dungeness, prepare to be completely absorbed as she makes her return in Salt Lane. Not only is this a well plotted and compelling police procedural, once again using this particular landscape to its full brooding and slightly sinister effect, but Salt Lane reveals itself to be so much more. When you cast your eye over the backlist of William Shaw, comprising of his evocative 60s series, and the aforementioned The Birdwatcher, one cannot help but be struck by the skill of his storytelling, and the strength of his characterisation. As well as unfailingly producing absorbing, moving and carefully constructed police procedurals, Shaw also uses either the zeitgeist of the period, or the locations to envelop the reader completely in the atmosphere he seeks to produce. In Salt Lane the desolate, but rawly beautiful, locale of Dungeness once again reveals itself as a centrifugal force in the book, being either a place of safety or danger in equal measure, but also effectively acting as a prism for the emotional state of both Cupidi and her troubled teenage daughter, Zoe. As Zoe seeks to deal with her emotional pain and seeks solace from the landscape, also unwittingly leading herself into the heart of her mother’s investigation, Cupidi herself finds herself at times waging an emotional and physical battle with the unique geography of the area, and the murders that occur within its boundaries. Taking a backward step for a second, I can’t emphasise enough the weight of emotion, and more importantly the completely plausible emotion that Shaw injects into his trinity of female characters, Cupidi, Zoe and Cupidi’s mother Helen, who will be recognisable to some readers from Shaw’s previous books. I was absolutely blown away by how succinctly and honestly Shaw captured the internal and external emotional lives of these women, as they navigate their differences and similarities in the course of the book. The tension and moments of conflict are balanced beautifully with moments of epiphany in their personal relationship with each other, and the scenes featuring these three exceptional characters are a joy to read, feeling raw, true and suffused with realism. I must confess that I don’t read much ‘women’s fiction’ as that which I have encountered always has a slightly mawkish feel in its depiction of ‘women’s experience’, but I was held spellbound by the resonance of these characters in my interpretation of how women truly are, and how that which separates them, can be seen to actually bind them together more than they initially feel. As for the plot itself, Shaw is given free reign to expose the worst ills of a Britain caught in a monstrous wave of nationalism and post-Brexit turmoil. Against the Kent location of the book, Shaw weaves a disturbing police investigation into an unflinching and, most importantly, objective appraisal of immigration and exploitation, that boils the blood, and tugs at the heartstrings in equal measure, depending on your political viewpoint. Without resorting to soapbox declarations on the state of Britain, Shaw holds a mirror up to the conflicting sides of the immigration issue, whilst keeping the book solidly on track as a crime thriller. Consequently, Salt Lane is never less than a wonderfully multi-layered contemporary thriller, replete with the highest calibre characterisation, and a looming feel of unease. Highly recommended.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mrtruscott

    I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Picked it up as a “palate cleanser/random change of pace.” I must say, the surfeit of British binge-able shows has everyone in my household talking with British accents, a la Madonna. So another Brit detective story....a male author takes on a flawed female main character...a mother, daughter, copper, with a female partner/underling, no less. He did pretty well, for a man. The plot was somewhat convoluted and overstuffed with backstories and characters wh I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Picked it up as a “palate cleanser/random change of pace.” I must say, the surfeit of British binge-able shows has everyone in my household talking with British accents, a la Madonna. So another Brit detective story....a male author takes on a flawed female main character...a mother, daughter, copper, with a female partner/underling, no less. He did pretty well, for a man. The plot was somewhat convoluted and overstuffed with backstories and characters who whizzed by in a blur. A bit of pruning was called for. But! The redeemlng factor, for me, was the storyline involving illegal migrant workers in Dungeness (a very different part of England). The book focused (in part) on refugees who cling to the lowest rung on a barely visible ladder, as tragic and troublesome in England as anywhere. The people who take the worst jobs, the people who “hire” them, the underworld of fear and exploitation....not a cheery book (but hey, it’s a detective/mystery book, there were murders and bodies, too). Shaw managed to incorporate a timely topic in a politically neutral way that served the story, and pushed this book from light reading into more serious territory without being heavy handed. And now I’m craving a cup of tea and a biscuit.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor

    Salt Lane is the newest novel from William Shaw, the beginning of a series featuring DI Alex Cupidi, who made an appearance in the book Shaw released last year, The Birdwatcher. Salt Lane too is set in rural Kent, that strange flat marshy part of England where the sea and the sky and the land flow into one another. This time, Shaw sets his sights on immigrant labour: the illegal fruit picking and farm work that goes on under the noses of police. Two murders in quick succession—a local woman who Salt Lane is the newest novel from William Shaw, the beginning of a series featuring DI Alex Cupidi, who made an appearance in the book Shaw released last year, The Birdwatcher. Salt Lane too is set in rural Kent, that strange flat marshy part of England where the sea and the sky and the land flow into one another. This time, Shaw sets his sights on immigrant labour: the illegal fruit picking and farm work that goes on under the noses of police. Two murders in quick succession—a local woman who has been living under an assumed name for twenty years, found in a ditch, and a migrant labourer who has been drowned in a farm’s slurry pit—assume sinister proportions when it turns out that they’re related. Cupidi must find who’s responsible while also developing her relationship with her teenage daughter Zoe, acting as a mentor to the insouciant and pretty DS Ferriter, and protecting her own reputation on a squad to which she is new, and which knows all about the scandal that drove her away from London. There is slightly too much going on in Salt Lane; some of the supporting characters confuse the arc of the investigation, rather than adding to it, as does the fact that the dead woman is connected to a cold case from 1995. (We learn about this in the prologue, a flashback which misleads us into thinking that the old crime is going to be more significant in the present-day storyline than it actually is.) I’m also not certain about Shaw’s portrayal of immigrant workers; he’s not offensive about them or about the hell in their countries of origin that drives them to the UK, but I wasn’t convinced that he’d ever spoken to a refugee. Najiba, a migrant worker who acts as a police informant, is fairly well-rounded, but the others seem like ciphers; Marina Lewycka’s Strawberry Fields is a more moving and humanising portrait of this world. As ever, though, Shaw’s grasp of pacing and procedure makes it hard to put Salt Lane down.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Thelastwordreview

    Having really enjoyed The Birdwatcher that was released in May 2016 and now William Shaw returns with Salt Lane. DS Alexandra Cupidi after leaving the Met and heading to the Kent coastline she is confronted with a shocking murder. Life is different here and so is murder. Salt Lane is a terrifying and gripping crime novel. that I enjoyed even more than Shaw’s previous. This is the start of a new DS Cupidi series and already looking forward to further books in the series. For Cupidi she has had a Having really enjoyed The Birdwatcher that was released in May 2016 and now William Shaw returns with Salt Lane. DS Alexandra Cupidi after leaving the Met and heading to the Kent coastline she is confronted with a shocking murder. Life is different here and so is murder. Salt Lane is a terrifying and gripping crime novel. that I enjoyed even more than Shaw’s previous. This is the start of a new DS Cupidi series and already looking forward to further books in the series. For Cupidi she has had a lot to deal with that includes a shattered career with the Met and a troublesome teenager. Her daughter Zoe, seems isolated as they live in a much quieter part of the country. Cupidi knows only too well that her job takes up a lot of her time and she is concerned for Zoe, who seems to spend a lot of time walking the marshes as she has taken to birdwatching. DS Cupidi takes her work seriously and the hours are long. She knows only too well that the affair she got involved in cost her the position she worked so hard for at the Met. Now she is involved in two murders. A migrant worker has been found dead in a slurry pit, a shocking killing. But who was responsible for his death and she is also investigating the death of a young woman found in Salt Lane she is struggling to identify the young woman and what she was doing in Salt Lane. The murdered migrant worker is shocking. He is North African like many in the countryside and William Shaw brings into his novels a fair amount of social commentary and we also learn of the of the use of illegal workers at key times of the year. The illegal migrant workers fall off the radar and then trying to identify them is challenging. Human trafficking has been in the news a lot over recent years and their abuse is shocking. Working alongside Cupidi is the young and Jill Ferriter, she is keen to learn to more but comes across at times as a little venerable at time but is a good foil for Cupidi. Shaw writes an intricate crime novel with very strong characters and a deep storyline. Many subjects are touched throughout the book and we learn a lot about Cupidi and her relationship with her daughter Zoe. Salt Lane is a very powerful crime novel and if you have not yet discovered the writing of William Shaw then now is your time. Not to worry if you have not read The Birdwatcher as this can be read as a standalone novel. A cracking read. 464 Pages. My copy was provided by the publisher riverrun for review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Goldman

    I raced through Salt Lane, from beginning to end. Yet again, as with The Birdwatcher, I was totally mesmerised by the quirky characters, chilling setting and emotional plot. Everything about this book, and William Shaw's stunning writing, is excellent. The dialogue, in particular, is so realistic that it brings each character to life and drives the plot forward at a cracking pace. The setting is stark and desolate, yet the descriptions of the coastline, marshes and fens are so vivid, providing a I raced through Salt Lane, from beginning to end. Yet again, as with The Birdwatcher, I was totally mesmerised by the quirky characters, chilling setting and emotional plot. Everything about this book, and William Shaw's stunning writing, is excellent. The dialogue, in particular, is so realistic that it brings each character to life and drives the plot forward at a cracking pace. The setting is stark and desolate, yet the descriptions of the coastline, marshes and fens are so vivid, providing a strong sense of place and an air of mystery. DS Alexandra Cupidi is investigating two deaths - one is a woman found floating in the water and the other is a migrant worker found floating in a slurry tank. A scandal back in London led Cupidi (and her teenage daughter, Zoe) to the bleak Kent coastline and she's still trying to fit in, remaining a little distant from her fellow police officers. But as the case continues, she's having to rely on them more and more - especially as she and her colleague Jill Ferriter put themselves into some very tricky (and potentially dangerous) situations. William Shaw covers some dark topics and contemporary issues with a splash of humour and plenty of sensitivity. This character-driven crime novel follows on from The Birdwatcher (which was a standalone), but this is the start of a new series. I don't think there's a need to read The Birdwatcher first (other than to gain some background into Cupidi and her daughter). I loved The Birdwatcher, but now love Salt Lane even more.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pascale

    Closer to a 3.5 - good but dragged on a bit. Who the killer turned out to be was pretty surprising to me - so that's something you don't always get! Got a little bit annoyed about the protagonist being referred to, throughout by her surname, seemed oddly formal and was a little bit confused the odd time her name was used. I'll probably, eventually checkout the next in the series at a later date.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Penny (Literary Hoarders)

    An excellent start to this series. The weather finally broke and we had a glorious weekend where I was finally able to sit outside on the patio and read. And that is all I did this weekend - the bulk of this book was read yesterday all day outside. Excellent development this time around of Alexandra Cupidi's character, her work life and her home life. Not only is this an excellent start to a great mystery series that I look forward to continuing reading - it was a very political book as well. Sh An excellent start to this series. The weather finally broke and we had a glorious weekend where I was finally able to sit outside on the patio and read. And that is all I did this weekend - the bulk of this book was read yesterday all day outside. Excellent development this time around of Alexandra Cupidi's character, her work life and her home life. Not only is this an excellent start to a great mystery series that I look forward to continuing reading - it was a very political book as well. Shaw hits squarely on the nose the anti-migrant, anti-immigrant issues running through England (for this setting, but it could be applied all over) for the "England is English" sentiment. Shaw clearly, yet subtly but not preachy mind you, thumps that rhetoric solidly down into the ground. Shaw also took a great (but still subtle) shot at sexism in the workplace too. I want to expand on it so very much here, but I will hold back because I would be off on a tangent. Just know I appreciated how he deftly took on this insidious rhetoric and showed how ignorant and wrong it is but how it has wonderfully lined the pockets of the few while taking advantage of the many while creating fear and hate. I do think it is a good idea to read The Birdwatcher first so that you get the full story on why Cupidi has left London and moved to Kent, and for all the other background about her and other characters in this series.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Christen Moore

    If you have been following my reviews for the last couple of weeks, you will have noticed that I have read and reviewed many books this year with strong female lead characters. Just when I thought the trend may have come to an end, I came upon DS Alex Cupidi. With her hard exterior but soft interior, I believe she is proof that the trend is here to stay. Since moving from London to Kent, DS Alex Cupidi is trying to find a balance between being a good mother and a good police officer. After condu If you have been following my reviews for the last couple of weeks, you will have noticed that I have read and reviewed many books this year with strong female lead characters. Just when I thought the trend may have come to an end, I came upon DS Alex Cupidi. With her hard exterior but soft interior, I believe she is proof that the trend is here to stay. Since moving from London to Kent, DS Alex Cupidi is trying to find a balance between being a good mother and a good police officer. After conducting an investigation which lead to the arrest and conviction of her first partner, she is finding it hard to bond with her colleagues. To make matters even more complicated, her daughter Zoe has withdrawn and they are finding it hard to communicate with each other. Alex has been assigned a new partner, Jill Ferriter. Together they are working to solve the murder of a women who’s body was left in the Kent marshlands. With no identification and no clear cause of death, Jill and Alex are not entirely sure the woman’s death was not an accident. When the body of a man is found very close to their last victim, they are positive these deaths were intentional and they now have two murders to investigate. As Alex and Jill hit wall after wall, they discover a disturbing situation in which vulnerable people are being abused and murdered if they display any sign of speaking out. I enjoy reading books by authors who can write about sensitive issues with objectivity. The victims of the murders Alex is investigating are migrant workers. Immigration is a hot topic all over the world. Shaw addresses this issue with tact and an open mind. The characters pose points from both sides of the argument. One character even changes their position on the subject. In Salt Lane, Shaw captures the frustration and hopelessness felt by people on either side of the debate, mirroring the conflicts many countries are now facing. Salt Lane can be read without reading the prequel, The Birdwatcher first. Although if you are interested to learn the details of Alex’s feelings of exclusion from her co-workers, I suggest readers check it out. Although Alex is not the main character in The Birdwatcher, I still loved it. I am actually hoping to read more about the main character of The Birdwatcher in future books. While reading Salt Lane I knew there was something different about Alex Cupidi, but I could not identify the difference. In some ways she’s just like many of the female lead investigators I have read-brash, ill mannered, and tough. With others like Alex, loneliness is kind of implied. They live alone, no family, few friends. With Alex, her loneliness is very much at the fore front of her story. What struck me with Alex, is that she has so much more than other female protagonists I have read, a daughter and a mother. However she is just as lonely, her inability to connect with others including her family is the source of her loneliness. This aspect made Alex more relatable than other female leads in other crime fiction books. Salt Lane moves at a bit of a slower pace. I do enjoy books that are longer and unhurried, especially after reading a shocking and disturbing book. Although Salt Lane lacks shocks and thrills, the story is no less gripping. The victims were brutally murdered and the circumstances of their deaths are described in great detail. Shaw takes a deep dive into the investigation without it being overwhelming. Readers follow Cupidi to every witness questioning, case briefing, and interrogation. Readers looking for a book which is socially relevant, investigation driven, with a simmering pace should add Salt Lane to their list of must reads. * Thanks to Mullholland Books for my free copy of Salt Lane* Murder and Moore Rating : 4.5 out of 5 Stars

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kath

    This is book one of the Alex Cupidi series although she does feature in another book, The Birdwatcher, which could be considered a prequel. It is not necessary to have read that book before starting this one as the salient points are all covered nicely here but as it is a cracking read in its own right, why not!? Due to some dubious personal life choices, Alex has been relocated from the bustling Met to the wilds of the Kent coastline. A move that irks her but has really annoyed her daughter who This is book one of the Alex Cupidi series although she does feature in another book, The Birdwatcher, which could be considered a prequel. It is not necessary to have read that book before starting this one as the salient points are all covered nicely here but as it is a cracking read in its own right, why not!? Due to some dubious personal life choices, Alex has been relocated from the bustling Met to the wilds of the Kent coastline. A move that irks her but has really annoyed her daughter who has had to leave all her friends and is pretty resentful of the new situation she finds herself in. But, both of them are resigned to their new lives and are trying to get to grips with it all. Alex is called to the scene of an accident. A man has drowned in a slurry pit on a farm. On further inspection, she deems it to have been murder and her investigations lead her to migrants working on neighbouring farms as fruit pickers. But, as with most oversees workers, they run a closed shop and it's hard to get any information from them. Together with her colleague, Ferriter, they manage to find someone to talk to and gain a few leads there. But things take a wild turn when another body is found, one who it seems is a bit out of place, and it becomes a race against time to get to the bottom of what is swiftly turning out to be a rather convoluted case. One that also brought Alex's sordid past into her present once again. Oh my days, this book was a veritable cornucopia of crime. What started off as one thing soon turned into a whole hotchpotch of interconnected crimes, some spanning decades in the making. Alex really doesn't make things easy for herself as she is forced to involve her old force and colleagues in her current case and all the baggage that came with that wasn't pretty. I am not too keen on characters' lives overtaking the crimes being solved but here it was necessary inclusion for both plot and character development reasons. The crimes themselves are well plotted and indeed well thought out and had me somewhat flummoxed throughout which meant that my interest was maintained through all the descriptive stuff I had to endure before I got to the crux of the matters in hand. It really was quite an ambitious plot all told. One of the things I did love about the book was Alex's relationship with her constable Ferriter. I thought that, after a bit of a shaky start, they gelled really well and I do look forward to seeing them together in future books. Alex herself did annoy me quite a bit throughout. She's a bit of a lone wolf, gung ho maverick but her heart is in the right place so I guess I can put up with the rather shadier sides of her character. She makes mistakes but she does admit and own them so it's not all bad. There's quite a lot of social commentary in this book, something I believe that the author is well known for and it is handled quite well here. Going into detail would include spoilers so I won't but it does highlight the plight of what some people go through and the breaks that they need to survive that can come from unlikely sources and I did like that element of what I read. I did twig the main perp a bit before the reveal but only cos I was struggling to find someone else to pin it all on. There were other suspects of course but I did deem them unlikely / too obvious and I was pleasantly surprised that I was right in the end. All in all, a good introduction (or reconnection if you read The Bridwatcher) to Alex Cupidi. It'll be interesting to see what she gets up to in the next book. My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I can hear your cries of horror from here. Kestrel is reviewing another mystery- time to gird your loins and read yet another scathing review. Except. EXCEPT. I really, REALLY liked Salt Lane, written by William Shaw, previously known for his mystery The Birdwatcher. When police sergeant Alexandra Cupidi moves from London to more rural Kent, she’s expecting a slower pace of life. Surrounded by miles of marshland, she wants to fix her relationship with her daughter, all too aware of the mistakes he I can hear your cries of horror from here. Kestrel is reviewing another mystery- time to gird your loins and read yet another scathing review. Except. EXCEPT. I really, REALLY liked Salt Lane, written by William Shaw, previously known for his mystery The Birdwatcher. When police sergeant Alexandra Cupidi moves from London to more rural Kent, she’s expecting a slower pace of life. Surrounded by miles of marshland, she wants to fix her relationship with her daughter, all too aware of the mistakes her own mother made in raising her. Then the first body appears, soaked in water- a woman who seems to have mysteriously re-surfaced after years of being off the radar. The idea of motherhood and the relationships between women are very much the central theme of this novel. Cupidi’s teenage daughter is a mystery to her, and her mother is only a little more well-known. As the bodies pile up, all seemingly connected in a way she can’t quite grasp, she realizes that her own ideas of where she stands in relationship to the other women in her life is formed from misconceptions and faulty memories. Interwoven throughout this is timely commentary on the refugee crisis that much of Europe faces. Characters have various degrees of sympathy, yet Shaw manages to come across as someone who understands there is no easy answer and that the system as it stands simply will not suffice. This is a novel without easy answers- though the ultimate mystery is solved, it’s not tied up neatly, and that’s simply how life goes sometimes. There’s a great deal of work still left in Cupidi’s life, and in the broader political implications as a whole, but what Shaw offers is a hint of hope that strikes me as the most ultimately realistic option that could have occurred, and one I felt grateful for. Difficult to put down, Salt Lane’s evocative marshes make for the perfect read any time of the year. Thank you so much to NetGalley and to Mulholland Books for the review copy.

  29. 5 out of 5

    jeff popple

    In this well-crafted follow up to 'The Birdwatcher', William Shaw moves DS Alexandra Cupidi to centre stage. Alexandra is thrown into her first major investigation since relocating from London to the Kent coastline after an ill-judged affair with a senior officer, when the body of a woman is found in the waters close to Salt Lane. Although the woman is identified as Hilary Keen, there is some question over her identity and when the investigation takes a deadly turn Alexandra is drawn into an IPC In this well-crafted follow up to 'The Birdwatcher', William Shaw moves DS Alexandra Cupidi to centre stage. Alexandra is thrown into her first major investigation since relocating from London to the Kent coastline after an ill-judged affair with a senior officer, when the body of a woman is found in the waters close to Salt Lane. Although the woman is identified as Hilary Keen, there is some question over her identity and when the investigation takes a deadly turn Alexandra is drawn into an IPCC investigation. Things are further complicated with the discovery of the murdered body of a North African man in a slurry tank on a farm near to Salt Lane. Are the two murders linked? And what is the connection between the two deaths and the use of illegal immigrants to do seasonal work on the nearby farms? This is an evocative and enjoyable crime novel that is supported by richly described characters and some great descriptions of Kent and the Romney Marshes. The book moves at a good pace and there are several neat twists. Alexandra is an engaging character, who is troubled by her past failures and her fraught relationship with her teenage daughter. The other members of her team are also well described, especially the young and enthusiastic Constable Jill Ferriter, who develops nicely over the course of the novel. In all, this is another impressive novel by Shaw who is quickly becoming a leading figure among British crime writers.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ginny Kavanagh

    Alex Cupidi takes a little getting used to. She is struggling to maintain a decent relationship with her daughter Zoe and her mother Helen. Zoe is clearly troubled and is saved only by her passion for bird watching. Helen seems cool and distant and indeed abandoned Alex periodically for most of her childhood. Alex doesn’t play well with others. Her social skills are a bit lacking. She is a police sergeant who is busy investigating the murder of a John and Jane Doe. She doesn’t have enough time f Alex Cupidi takes a little getting used to. She is struggling to maintain a decent relationship with her daughter Zoe and her mother Helen. Zoe is clearly troubled and is saved only by her passion for bird watching. Helen seems cool and distant and indeed abandoned Alex periodically for most of her childhood. Alex doesn’t play well with others. Her social skills are a bit lacking. She is a police sergeant who is busy investigating the murder of a John and Jane Doe. She doesn’t have enough time for Zoe so she asks her mother to move in. Meanwhile her relationship with her polar opposite, engaging young colleague Jill is growing warmer. Jokes and an occasional sympathetic hug are exchanged. Things may work out with her mother too. But meanwhile, this is a mystery involving the deaths of two unknown characters, identity theft, migrant workers, and a mother and son reunion. It has twists and turns and I did not guess the villain, though I should have. I love William Shaw’s books and look forward to going back to the sixties (or maybe seventies by now) with the next Breen and Tozer. Four stars.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.