Gareth L Powell officially the nicest man on twitter and award winning sci fi author has turned his considerable skills to crime in this wonderful novella.
Set in the small welsh town of Pontyrhudd DCI Holly Craig returns to her home town to investigate a murder. Things quickly unravel as a spate of murders threaten to ruin her career but all is not as it seems as the murderer seems to be copying a murder from decades earlier.
Ragged Alice is fab. I love Holly Craig she’s a damaged-yet-brilliant detective with an ability to see someone’s soul and ascertain whether they are lying. How she came by this ability is part of the story so I won’t spoil it for you. But the self medicating DCI Craig really resonated with me.
There is a cast of memorable characters populate Pontyrhudd but like Holly some of them have things to hide and of course some know more than they let on. Special shout outs for Holly’s right hand man, Scott. Lao the local journalist who is yearning for a break into the big time and Mrs Phillips.
One of the things I loved was how Pontyrhudd felt like a character in its own right. If you’ve ever spent time on the welsh coast it is instantly familiar and tangible and Powell makes the town seem both known and mysterious at the same time.
I found myself comparing it to Broadchurch in its small town/big drama and there are parallels but this has a supernatural element to it which adds to the atmosphere.
Ragged Alice is published by Tor.com