I always enjoy a Cath Staincliffe book although for some reason it’s been far too long since I read one. I really enjoyed Running Out of Road and found it to be a tightly plotted crime story with fascinating characters.

There are several strands to this story and all become tangled together in an unexpected way. There’s Ron, a quiet house/pet sitter, minding his own business until one small action leads destruction to his door. Then there’s Dylan, a drug dealer fleeing an incident and ending up involved with Scarlett, an 11 year old who has been kidnapped by her father, who she hasn’t seen for years. DS Laura O’Neil is on the hunt for Scarlett and also finds herself in the middle of a number of messy situations with the unexpected assistance of her new colleague, PC Ahmed Ali.

I think the strongest part of this book is the plot and how it all comes together. It’s really clever how a set of misunderstandings makes everything so much more complicated. Setting it in the brooding and at times desolate Peak District with weather conditions playing their own part makes for a quite dark backdrop and yet this is such an easy book to read and to get absorbed in.

There are lots of twists and turns and I kept wondering what else could happen. It all takes place in hours, rather than days, and it really is a story jam-packed with lots of ups and downs and tense situations. This is such a great read, one that covers so many issues and kept me interested in getting to the outcome.

Review by Nicola Smith, Short Book and Scribes

Published by Constable (15 July 2021)
Hardback, ISBN 978-1472132123