After You Die by Eva Dolan
The previous summer Dawn Prentice had logged a number of calls detailing the harassment she and her severely disabled teenage daughter were undergoing. Now she is dead – stabbed to death whilst Holly Prentice has been left to starve upstairs. Is it genuinely a crime for the Peterborough Hate crimes Unit? Can Zigic and Ferreira unpick the truth about mother and daughter, and bring their killer to justice?
First Impressions: The third book in the series and another cracking read from page one.
Highlights: It became clear to me very early on that Ferreira has a brilliant interview technique. She is precise with her questioning and nothing passes her by when she is listening to Zigic’s questioning. She pins down the nuance of every comment a witness or suspect makes. She’s not a cliche of ‘good-cop-bad-cop-Jekyll-and-Hyde’ either. Even when she’s sympathetic to the person she’s interviewing, she’s hardly being warm or compassionate; you still feel her steel. Would I trust her if being interviewed? Absolutely. In the previous books, I liked both Zigic and Ferreira equally – maybe even Zigic a bit more as it would be hard not to have a little crush on him – but now I think Ferreira takes the prize as my favourite of the two. Zigic may need a bit more grit going forward.
Another thing I really liked about this novel was the fact that it shows that the Hate Crimes Unit deals with stuff much wider than race crimes, specifically towards Eastern Europeans. As with the previous novels in the series, it feels like a properly functioning department with the everyday mundane calls and witness statements lurking in the background. This is explicitly seen with Ferreira’s recalling of her previous contact with Dawn Prentice. I wouldn’t say there was disinterest but it was oh so procedurally dry. I love the way Eva Dolan details this stuff. Perhaps the aficionados need a short story collection describing a week in the life of the Hate Crimes Unit!
If I was an editor: Unfortunately if I had to think of a way to improve the story I’d have to get picky and mention something ludicrously unimportant, like disliking a minor character’s name (untrue). Maybe including a bit more detail about the fostering situation could create a bit more of a sinister undertone – are they just doing it for money? what are their stories and who do we believe? However, it is a brilliantly streamlined story and I’m sure Eva Dolan had to fight the urge to include all the interesting deviations she brainstormed!
Overall: I wonder, what will the next crime be? How far does their remit extend I wonder?