CTG Reviews: CUT TO THE BONE by Alex Caan

Cut to the Bone

What the blurb says: Ruby is a vlogger, a rising star of YouTube and a heroine to millions of teenage girls. And she’s missing. She’s an adult – nothing to worry about, surely? Until the video’s uploaded. Ruby, in the dirt and pleading for her life.

Who better to head up the investigation than the Met’s rising star, Detective Inspector Kate Riley? She’s leading a shiny new team, high-powered, mostly female and with the best resources money can buy. It’s time for them to prove what they can do. Alongside her, Detective Sergeant Zain Harris – poster boy for multiracial policing and the team’s newest member – has his own unique contribution to make. But can Kate wholly trust him and when he’s around, can she trust herself?

Ruby’s millions of fans are hysterical about what may have happened to her. The press is having a field day and as the investigation hurtles out of control in the glare of publicity, it becomes clear that the world of YouTube vloggers and social media is much, much darker than anyone could have imagined in their worst nightmares.

And the videos keep coming . . .”

CUT TO THE BONE is the latest debut coming out of Bonnier’s Twenty7 Books imprint, and it’s an outstanding edition to their line-up. Utterly contemporary, with a rapid pace and nail-biting tension from the get-go, it’s a super-twisty police procedural that kept me guessing right until the end.

The story starts with the disappearance of superstar vlogger, Ruby Day. This is a novel hot on technology – it’s bang up to date – but the human element is strong too, and Ruby’s story is heartbreakingly compelling. Bullied at school, Ruby turned to vlogging as a way to overcome her demons and help others. When her subscribers grew, she was catapulted into the spotlight, and with that came loyal fans, but also hangers on, and those looking to exploit her for profit. When she goes missing, DI Riley and DS Harris have a number of possible suspects who each has a stake in Ruby, but who would profit most from her disappearance? As the investigation cranks up, and more videos of Ruby in distress are released, it becomes clear that beneath the surface of Ruby’s business relationships and personal relationships there are darker, and seedier, motives than any of them could have possibly imagined.

The two main characters – DI Kate Riley and DS Zain Harris – make for an interesting pairing. Both damaged by the events in their past, they’re equally suspicious of others and find it difficult to trust people. They’re also both exceptional at what they do, and determined to get to the truth, and for justice to prevail (even if Zain’s version of justice may be a little more ‘hands on’ at times). Their origins – finding out why Kate Riley had to leave America and start over in the UK, and why Zain Harris is struggling to fit into his new role as a DS in Riley’s team – are fresh and original, and really made me want to spend time with them.

CUT TO THE BONE is perfect for readers who like their police procedurals fast paced, twisty-turny, and served with a side order of grit. I loved it, and can’t wait to read the next in the series.

CUT TO THE BONE is out in eBook now. You can buy it from Amazon here

Check out my interview with Alex Caan here and be sure to follow him on Twitter @alexcaanwriter

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