Call your mother.'
'What do I say?'
This is how it begins.
Ten year old Ruby Trick lives with her parents John and Alison, in their small, rundown cottage near the Devon coast in Limeburn. She's a real Daddy's girl, taking his side when her Mum and Dad argue; most of the arguments brought on by the stress of John having been out of work for a few years while his wife provides for the family working in a nearby hotel.
Women start to go missing, they are stripped naked by their attacker and forced to phone their mothers before being killed. Is the murderer doing this to punish his victims or their mothers? John is a member of a cowboy posse with his friends from the pub and they decide to go out at night, driving around to make sure everyone is safe and hoping to catch the culprit. He takes Ruby with him despite how late it is, but is she putting herself at risk?
A lot of the story is told from Ruby's viewpoint as well as other characters such as Calvin and DCI King, the police officers who are hunting the murderer. I loved all of them but especially Ruby whose ten year old voice and thoughts were very believable. Calvin's relationship and almost accidental engagement with his girlfriend Shirley also offered some light relief from the dark side of the story.
The Facts Of Life And Death is another excellent page turner from Belinda Bauer that has a lot more to it than the usual crime novel.
Rating: 4 out of 5