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The Rotting Spot

Authors: Valerie Laws

Published by Red Squirrel Press

ISBN: 9781906700102

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When student Lucy Seaton goes missing, her friend Erica Bruce is convinced there's a link to the disappearance of Lucy's cousin years before. At first, Inspector Will Bennett is sceptical of Erica, with her homeopathy and love of William Blake's prophecies; so she begins her own investigation, contending with Lucy's steely mother and religious aunt - and the doubtful assistance of excess-loving 'charva' Stacey.

On the sea-lashed Northumbrian headland of Stony Point, the skull hunter's rotting spot hides a secret, while the families round about hide several more. Someone's getting away with murder... and they'll do whatever it takes to keep it that way.

"A darkly intriguing debut."
Val McDermid

"Valerie Laws is a fresh and talented new voice in crime-writing. The Rotting Spot takes the established form of the rural detective novel, but brings it bang up to date. Here we have practitioners of complementary medicine and a binge-drinking pregnant young Geordie; we consider the relationship between women and food and the delights of skull collecting. And all within the framework of a well-structured plot."
Ann Cleeves

"Valerie Laws's crime fiction debut The Rotting Spot introduces Erica Bruce: recovering anorexic, practising homeopath and all-round canny Geordie lass. Erica also collects puffin skulls, but it turns out that there are a few of the human kind around as well... The book opens with a bang - a Saturday-night birth in the middle of a Newcastle street with new mother Stacey swearing like a sailor - and interweaves a suspenseful story with graphic extracts from 'The Skull Hunter's Blog' that speak of slime, maggots and decay. As Erica crosses paths with Detective Inspector Will Bennett - he of the blue, blue eyes - and skeletons rattle loudly in closets, Laws brings her locations vibrantly to life, allowing you to relish the refreshing North Sea breeze even as it whips her more dastardly characters into a murderous frenzy."
Time Out

Valerie Laws is Writer in Residence at a London Pathology Museum, part of her Wellcome Trust Arts Award funded project (with artist Susan Aldworth) working with scientists on the process of dying. She's a poet, performer, playwright for stage and BBC radio, and sci-art specialist: her Arts Council-funded Quantum Sheep infamously involved spray-painting poetry onto live sheep.

She lives on the North East coast and has published seven books, including two poetry collections from Peterloo Poets. This is her first crime novel, written with mentoring by Lisanne Radice, resulting from a New Writing North 'Northern Writer's Award'
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