Steps to Heaven by Wendy Cartmell
Steps to Heaven, the internationally acclaimed British crime thriller, is the first in the Sgt Major Crane series. It is followed by 40 Day 40 Nights. No Mercy is a series of short stories also featuring Sgt Major Crane.
A young soldier murders his wife and six year old son and then commits suicide, after recently returning from Afghanistan. As Sgt Major Crane investigates he finds the soldier had links with a local church. As the body count rises, events take a darker turn and he wonders what the churches are offering – salvation, or slaughter?
The author states, “My inspiration for the Sgt Major Crane novels has been my love of crime writing (which I read voraciously) and my husband’s 22 years service in the British Army. I am aiming them at the Police Procedural market and aspire to write a series of books. I believe being set in the British Army gives a new dimension to the books and I hope there is a gap in the market for this type of crime novel, especially in the light of heightened public awareness of and support for the Armed Forces.”
Wendy Cartmell has triumphed in this top notch thriller. Opening with a horrific scene, she inviegles the reader into the intricate investigation led by Sgt Major Tom Crane and his staff, Billy and Kim. Someone is luring young fathers into killing their families and in spite of the army hierarchy announcing that the first episode is a domestic argument gone too far, Tom has reason to think otherwise. Things go downhill from there.
As the army investigators and police dig deeper, more tragedies occur, giving the army a problem with keeping the details out of the media’s reach.
Sgt Major Tom Crane is a new character amid the hundreds of fictional sleuths available to the avid reader. Ms Cartmell has created a team of likeable characters with their own private problems and insecurities, which in Tom’s case, threatens to impinge on the investigation. The fact that Sgt Major Crane is not a six foot plus hunk and gorgeous is a refreshing change!
I am particularly partial to English thrillers and this has to come at the top of the list. A truly terrific read and I for one, am going to be buying the two next novels featuring Tom and his team.(By Diana M. Hockley)