I was lucky enough to be invited to join the blog tour for one of my favourite authors, Eva Dolan. Her latest novel is called Watch Her Disappear. When I read the first of Dolan’s series I was drawn to it because of the setting around the area where I grew up but that soon became a secondary motive for my interest. The series is superb and her latest novel is no exception.
Watch Her Disappear begins with the murder of Corrinne who was attacked whilst out jogging. When DI Zigic and his colleague DS Ferreira from the Peterborough Hate Crimes division are called out they are unsure why. There have been a series of rapes in the area and they assume this is the latest one. It soon becomes clear why they are involved. Corrinne is transitioning from Colin and the murder could be linked to other attacks that have been taking place against the transgender community.
Watch Her Disappear is a fascinating novel, dealing as Dolan’s stories do with social issues, prejudice and hatred. The quality of writing is, as always, excellent and deals well with sensitive issues such as transphobia. Eva manages to write about it perceptively without sensationalising the issues, despite focusing as it does on murder.
The characters are well rounded, and just like in real life there are sides to all of them, some good and some bad. Personally I think that one of the things that makes these novels stand out are the two main characters. Zigic is the sensible family man who in Watch her Disappear is leading the team through an investigation whilst struggling with the demands of a new baby. Whereas Ferreira is the wild one sleeping with a senior officer and running off with her own line of investigation. They make a great team despite their differences and both draw on each other to move the investigation forward.
Lots of the locations such as Ferry Meadows where the crimes take place are familiar as places I went to as a child, which does add another element to the story. I was delighted to get the chance to ask Eva what makes the area stand out for her:
‘Back in 2012, when I started the first book in the series, Long Way Home, Peterborough felt like the natural choice. It’s a city with a history of 20th century immigration, with a large influx of workers coming from southern and eastern Europe after WW2, to take up jobs in food processing and at the local brickyards. Later they were joined by people from India and Pakistan. Then the 90s saw the arrival of many Portuguese and Polish migrant workers, drawn to the agricultural jobs available on the fenland surrounding Peterborough. It’s the perfect melting pot, small enough for each wave of immigration to feel distinct but large enough to contain all manner of criminality. Peterborough has also become something of a magnet for media coverage of issues of immigration, social cohesion, and the recent rise of ultra right political parties, a subject I explored in the second book, Tell No Tales, so even readers who haven’t been there will recognise it as a place where these issues are in play.’
I also wanted to find out where in Peterborough Eva goes when she is researching.
‘I try to keep it all about the work while I’m on a research trip but Peterborough has a really great shopping centre that I can’t resist and I was happy to stumble across Clarkes, an amazing restaurant on Cathedral Square; it has a lovely intimate atmosphere and a small but frequently changing menu focusing on local, seasonal produce. It’s the kind of place Zigic would probably book for Anna’s birthday. But I think Ferreira would take issue with their slim selection of rum.’
Watch Her Disappear is an excellent novel that I would definitely recommend. It works well as a standalone, and you won’t lose anything by not having read her others. However if you haven’t read the rest of the series I would highly suggest you do.
If you want to find out more about the Zigic and Ferreira series, and Eva’s thoughts on Peterborough and the fens, then pop over to Cleopatralovesbooks on the 1st April where I will be taking part in her feature Put A Book On The Map and talking all things Peterborough.
In the meantime to find out more about Eva Dolan and her series head over to some other stops on the blog tour:
You can also find out what novels Eva herself is looking forward to in 2017 at her column
Thanks to Eva for her time and to netgalley for my copy of the novel.