NO SAFE PLACE - Jenny Spence
It is just possible that a book about a middle aged, female, technical writer working for a software company might, just, perhaps be set in a world that feels more than a little bit comfortable (sans daughter of course). I will admit that when NO SAFE PLACE arrived I was more than a little bit excited!
Despite her close working relationship with your classic sort of ubergeek, working for an average software company as a technical writer is not the sort of job that you think would put you in a gunman's sights. So when her elderly neighbour, Mabel, who has simply stepped out her own front door to speak to Elly, is shot dead, and her ubergeek workmate is another victim, Elly is definitely not in Kansas anymore.
Even fleeing Melbourne to Sydney doesn't end the attempts on Elly's life and it's only through the assistance of her colleagues that she's able to keep one step ahead of whoever it is that's so intent on killing her.
As is often the way with debut novels, not everything is plain sailing in NO SAFE PLACE, although I won't be at all surprised if readers have different viewpoints simply because of the world that the book is set in.
It's obvious that this author has worked as a technical writer herself. There is quite a bit of detail throughout the novel about what being a technical writer actually is - frequently a little too much information to be honest. I don't think that's just because it's a world I know as well, as it frequently slowed down the action at the absolute worst possible time. Some of the technical elements were reasonably well done although there is the occasional clanger... IPP addresses being the one that stopped me dead in my tracks, but really, most readers may not even notice the occasional bump in that area.
In terms of things that all readers might notice was a tendency for some gobsmacking feats of fem-jep that just didn't need to be there. Combine that with a bit of daring do's from an unlikely support cast of programmers turned would be real-life adventure gamers, and there were points where credibility took a bit of a battering.
Whether or not the plot is one that has a few hiccups along the way, the great part of NO SAFE PLACE is undoubtedly the central character Elly Cartwright. Middle-aged, white-collar worker, accidental detective and very realistic portrayal. She's could very well be a welcome series in the making.
With winter closing in, Elly Cartwright dreams of escaping her inner-city existence for a more carefree life in the country. On a drizzly Monday morning, the view from her tram window is grim, and she isn't looking forward to yet another mundane working week.
But Elly's week will be anything but mundane, with two people she's closely associated with murdered in quick succession and two attempts on her life.
Someone believes Elly knows something she shouldn't, and she doesn't have a clue what it is. Her search for answers - and a sanctuary to hide in - has her fleeing from one city to another. But it's not long before she realizes there's no safe place for her to run to...
This thrilling debut crime novel by Jenny Spence will keep you on the edge of your seat - after you've locked your doors and windows!