Perfect Remains by Helen Fields – review

Published by Avon

Publication date – 26 January 2017

Source – review copy

On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.

In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.

It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes. The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.

Luc Callanach has moved from Interpol and his home in France. He has returned to Edinburgh, drawn by a Scottish father he can barely remember and trying to leave behind his past. Thrown straight in at the deep end, his first case as Detective Inspector is to look into the case of Elaine Buxton, when her missing persons case turns into a murder investigation. When another woman goes missing Luc and his team are on a race to find her before she befalls the same fate as Elaine.

This book is a break from the norm in that the reader learns about the perpetrator from the very beginning. The opening is quite gruesome, with more than one occasion in the book that may cause a reader to wince or cringe and we see into the mind of a twisted individual. As the story progresses we learn more about this person and what drives them to do the things they do. As the story develops the reader becomes more and more involved in the case and ever more eager for the perpetrator to be caught.

Along side this we see how Luc and his team progress with the case. The reader is privy to more information than the detectives so rather than a whodunit, this story is more of a look at how the police work out who the perpetrator is. This technique is a double-edged sword. It was refreshing to read a book and not be trying to figure out who was at fault. But I also found myself shouting and sighing at the police when they missed an obvious (to the reader) clue.

I wasn’t sure what to make of Luc Callanach. There is much to like about him, he is tenacious, driven and forthright. But there are a couple of aspects about his personality that tarnish him, little things that made me not quite like him. It didn’t stop me liking reading about him. His team are a mixed bunch, there are the newer officers, eager to please and less inclined towards judging. There are those who are more defiant, quick to rush to judgement, with obvious effects on the team and the case as a result. Then there is DI Ava Turner. She is acerbic, quick-witted and the perfect partner for Callanach.

This was an interesting, entertaining crime drama, with a variety of characters, with interesting back stories and a chilling villain.

Perfect Remains is the first in the Luc Callanach series. I look forward to reading more novels featuring Callanach and Turner soon.

About the author

Helen Fields’ first love was drama and music. From a very young age she spent all her free time acting and singing until law captured her attention as a career path. She studied law at the University of East Anglia, then went on to the Inns of Court School of Law in London.

After completing her pupillage, she joined chambers in Middle Temple where she practised criminal and family law for thirteen years. Undertaking cases that ranged from Children Act proceedings and domestic violence injunctions, to large scale drug importation and murder, Helen spent years working with the police, CPS, Social Services, expert witnesses and in Courts Martials.

After her second child was born, Helen left the Bar. Together with her husband David, she went on to run Wailing Banshee Ltd, a film production company, acting as script writer and producer.

Helen self-published two fantasy books as a way of testing herself and her writing abilities. She enjoyed the creative process so much that she began writing in a much more disciplined way, and decided to move into the traditional publishing arena through an agent.

Perfect Remains is set in Scotland, where Helen feels most at one with the world. Edinburgh and San Francisco are her two favourite cities, and she travels whenever she can.

Beyond writing, she has a passion for theatre and cinema, often boring friends and family with lengthy reviews and critiques. Taking her cue from her children, she has recently taken up karate and indoor sky diving. Helen and her husband now live in Hampshire with their three children and two dogs.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. The Quiet Knitter says:

    Fab review Janet! I loved this book, and the subsequent follow up ….. just waiting impatiently for the third book now haha


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.