I was pulled straight into the book with the first words; The woman’s body was winched from Dunball Wharf at 17.13, dripping with sluice-slime. The hip bones shone white against the sun and there were fish swimming in her belly.
After that, I knew I was reading an absolute winner. Milton set up her puzzles and they take you deep into dark and horrid worlds; exploitation, modern slavery, brain-washing cults, and much, much worse. The conclusion sped towards me as I kept turning the pages. But despite the dark pits of despair she mines, Milton’s heroine, Sabbie Dare, keeps things light. When she meets a Romani from Bulgaria, the girl tells her how her boss, Stan, is exploiting the gypsies;
“He say, come England, work. Wage good. Four euro hour.” – “Sounds like this Stanislaus deserves a whipping.” – “You have this punishment?”
I read the first in this series, In the Moors, shortly after it came out, and I’ve been waiting for number two ever since. I was not disappointed. I love the way Milton uses Sabbie’s relationship with a spirit world to help her solve the mysteries, but she’s not given too much help at all, and that made it a story that needed some real working on. I had no idea what was coming when it finally hit the page. I was shocked. This is a deeper investigation of the worse sides of humanity, but it is also a song to good qualities. I finished the book feeling better than I had when I began it; lighter, more in tune with the world.