Three Weeks Dead is a novella which is set prior to Bradley’s two novels featuring DI Hannah Robbins – Shallow Waters and Made to be Broken. Whilst I haven’t read either of these novels (yet!) I’m told that the novella can be read either before or after these novels – it features some of the same characters, but is set at an earlier point in time.
It features a young DC Sally Poynter who has recently joined Nottingham’s Major Crimes Unit and it’s a case of baptism by fire as she is assigned to an investigation in which Jason Wells has been arrested for stealing software worth millions from the company he works for.
In his interview, however, Poynter and Robbins discover that he has been coerced into the theft by individuals who have taken his wife, Lisa. The wife he buried three weeks earlier.
Three Weeks Dead is a fast-paced and intriguing tale which, as a novella extending to some 140 or so pages, can be read comfortably in a single sitting. There are multiple short chapters which are told from the perspective of either Sally or Jason, and this keeps the pace up as they try to get Jason’s wife back.
As a novella, the case isn’t as complex as some police procedurals, but I felt that it was at the right level to be interesting without the narrative feeling rushed in any way. And there are some wonderful little twists to keep you guessing as to what is going on and who is behind it all.
I found Sally Poynter to be an interesting character. In Three Weeks Dead, she has been in the Major Crimes Unit for less than one month and is suffering from “new starter” nerves – her desire to succeed is matched only by her fear of failure, and it will be interesting to see how Sally has progressed and developed within the team in the full-length novels.
I thought that Bradley did well to capture so much context in Three Weeks Dead but without this feeling forced or unnecessary to the story. Sally’s home life with her supportive if not entirely approving partner helped to give some colour to the character, as did her experiences of having to deal with a colleague who seems completely against her for no obvious reason whatsoever.
I picked up Three Weeks Dead as part of a giveaway that Bradley did to her email subscribers (thanks, Rebecca!) and I will definitely be checking out Shallow Waters and Made to be Broken off the back of this novella.