Losing Leah, Sue Welfare
Where LOSING LEAH begins is a country mile from where it ends up and that is all to the good.
Causing a disturbance at a truck stop is a distressed traveller, Chris Hills, who claims that his wife Leah has vanished. It was planned to be only a brief stop for the couple who regularly used the location as a pause in their journeys to their holiday cottage in Wales. There was nothing unusual about Chris and Leah Hills quickly pulling their car in to buy coffee and use the rest rooms before continuing on with the rest of their trip. However, plenty of discrepancies soon crop up in the account that Chris gives to the police tasked to investigate his wife’s disappearance.
DS Baker and DS Baley are at first concerned with finding the missing woman and as time slips away, work on the premise that Leah is now not likely to be found alive. There is nothing on CCTV, no witnesses, and no contact made from a possible kidnapper who could have struck just at the time that Leah was separated from her protective husband. What is the correct demeanour for a husband who has just lost his spouse? What is the correct way to investigate a possible abduction in a location that sees hundreds of people pass through each and every day? Leah has seemingly disappeared without reason or trace.
There is much to like about LOSING LEAH. This work cannily slots into a recently re-emerged sub-genre of crime fiction that is now very much on point again at this current point in our lived experience – but it is tricky to reveal what that re-emergence is exactly without giving out major plot spoilers! Let’s say if you like female driven thrillers that are written with a great understanding of what cornered women sometimes need to do, you will enjoy this read. It may not be too long before your hackles are raised in discovery as Chris and Leah are of course not the happily married couple that those who know them might consider them to be.
A sub plot tracking some regrettable hook ups made by the younger of the two police officers is a welcome little diversion from the investigation. Some solid work has been put into writing true and believable characters, and it has absolutely paid off. LOSING LEAH is a fast read because it is very engaging, not because it skimps on details and rushes the reader through to the finish line. Whilst you might figure out what actually happened fairly soon into the piece you won’t necessarily have an understanding of the why, and this will propel you forward in discovery.
Future works featuring the two police officers of LOSING LEAH would be welcomed as DS Baley in particular has arrived to the page fully formed and brimming with explorative promise. All the right ingredients have been included in LOSING LEAH for the hopeful continuation of a credible and absorbing police procedural series. All that would be required would be a little more focus on the insights on the investigators and fans of series crime fiction would be totally satisfied with their new find.
LOSING LEAH is the first work of crime fiction written by British author Sue Welfare.
On a cold, dark February morning, Chris and Leah Hills stop for coffee at an isolated service station a stone's throw from the Welsh Borders. While Leah heads inside, Chris locks the car and goes in to order their drinks. Minutes pass. Chris waits and waits, but Leah doesn't come back.
When Sergeant Mel Daley and her boss, Detective Inspector Harry Baker, arrive to begin a search for the missing woman, their investigation calls everything into question. Is she alive? Did she leave the service station with someone else? Did Leah ever even leave Norfolk? While her husband becomes more frantic, the pair begin to unravel a tangle of dark secrets from the past.