Review - Flashpoint, Felicity Young
Before WA based author Felicity Young commenced her extremely good Dr Dody McCleland series, she published a series of police procedural novels one of which built around the central character of Sergeant Cam Fraser in it. FLASHPOINT, originally out in 2005, has recently been re-released in ebook format.
Years ago this reader did read FLASHPOINT and some of the elements remained and obviously a lot didn't (the first version of this review muddled up the Cam Fraser and Stevie Hooper series utterly - with apologies to Felicity Young). FLASHPOINT looks back to recent events when his wife and young son were murdered, set in the immediate aftermath, as Fraser and his daughter Ruby return to the country town where he grew up - he assigned to the local Police Station, Ruby to be enrolled in the school that her mother attended.
The story starts out with the discovery of a burnt body and proceeds from there to build the details of the investigation, interwoven with the difficulties that Fraser and his daughter continue to have in coming to terms with the violent act that killed the rest of the family, and the tensions that come from settling into a new community, to say nothing of the difficulties of a now single father raising a teenage girl who is desperate to construct her own life.
The combination of an ongoing investigation, and the family tensions, as well as settling back into a town that has history for Fraser are balanced well, with Young writing the police procedural aspects with authority and a careful touch. The revelation of Fraser's backstory is woven into events in a logical manner, never distracting from the current death, providing insight into Fraser's behaviour and reactions, to say nothing of investigative tools and information that wouldn't be so readily available in larger, less connected societies. Whilst there is much in the sulky, difficult teenage daughter that is predictable, there is also the poignancy of a young girl whose life has gone through so much upheaval and the difficulties she is experiencing as a result.
As with the Dody McCleland series, this book works really well. Young expands the backstory and allow the characters to take on personalities that you can connect with. Which makes republishing FLASHPOINT as an ebook a great opportunity for fans of Australian police procedurals as FLAREUP, the second Cam Fraser book will be out next year.