Shifting Sands by Pamela St Abbs

I am delighted to be involved in the mini blog tour for Shifting Sands by Pamela St Abbs run by Lynsey Adams of Reading Between the Lines.

This is the fourth instalment in the Inspector Campbell series, a police procedural with so many twists and turns it will leave your head swirling. I had not read the previous books in the series but felt this worked well as a stand alone novel, so don’t be put off if you haven’t been acquainted with this series either.

I was initially tricked into believing the plot was about a serial killer targeting old men as they lounge on a Norfolk beach. However, as the pages turn, the plot quickly reveals a web of deceit centred around a complex money laundering racket with those involved thinking nothing of exploiting and murdering innocents in the name of twisted love and greed.

The characters are many and their relationship to each other often difficult to keep track of, but the author is very good at recapping events naturally using the team incident briefings. I would have liked to have known more about the lives of the leading detectives, not just their reactions and actions relating to the investigation.

Two of the key characters are Elizabeth and Gwen, who meet again at a school reunion and their stories are woven throughout the murder investigation. A note is left in Elizabeth’s travel bag addressed to Inspector Campbell and reveals that she is the person who murdered one of the victims, something she vehemently denies. Of course, this puts her as a suspect, but the plot soon reveals that her story and Gwen’s are intertwined, and the reader is left wondering whether they are the good or the bad guys. 

Inspector Campbell and his team are likeable and there is a comforting picture of a smooth running, tight ship of dedicated officers who work in unison to bring about answers to the murders on the beach. I felt at times as if I was a member of the murder squad and had my own thoughts on what our next step should be. Credit must be given to the author for her use of descriptivism throughout the book, whether it be in relation to the scenic beaches and surrounding farm lands to the actions of the detectives working the case and the other key characters that pop in and out of the plot.

This is a multi-faceted novel that entwines themes such as money laundering, love and obsession, loyalty and betrayal, arson and family drama that when shaken together form a complex plot right to the end.

I hope you enjoyed my review, and if you’d like to chat to me about reviewing your book, please find me on Twitter at @AllyBrady21