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The Rotting Spot (A Bruce and Bennett Mystery) by [Laws, Valerie]
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The Rotting Spot (A Bruce and Bennett Mystery) Kindle Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Length: 395 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'A darkly intriguing debut.' Val McDermid
'A fresh and talented new voice in crime-writing,... takes the established form of the rural detective novel, but brings it bang up to date. And all within the framework of a well-structured plot.' Ann Cleeves (Creator of TV's Vera and Shetland)
'Opens with a bang...and interweaves a suspenseful story with graphic extracts from the Skull Hunter's blog. As Erica crosses paths with DI Will Bennett, he of the blue, blue eyes, and skeletons rattle loudly in closets, Laws brings her locations vibrantly to life.' Daneet Steffens, Time Out London.

From the Author

This is my first crime novel, now on Kindle. My twelve published books include crime and comedy fiction, prize-winning poetry, plays, and best-selling language books. Erica Bruce, my homeopath detective, is young, driven, and complex, and she meets and works uneasily with gorgeous Detective Inspector Will Bennett, who is skeptical of her ideas. My poetry has recently been about pathology and the science of dying, researched through residencies with science institutes, and my interest in pathology informs my crime fiction. This is the first of the series, the second is now on Kindle. It's set on the beautiful Northumberland coast where I grew up, though there are some larger than life characters roaming the bars of the less scenic coastal areas too! The skull collecting theme is based on a time when I lived in Wales and skull collecting was all the rage. We had a rotting spot to rot down our skulls, hence the title. I still have some of them. They are looking at me now!

Product Details

  • File Size: 739 KB
  • Print Length: 395 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Red Squirrel Press; 1 edition (August 2, 2011)
  • Publication Date: August 2, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005FSP5UM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #442,049 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Skull collecting is pretty gruesome. The collectors, though, are quite likable and well molded characters. Some characters, who do not collect skulls, are far less likable though equally well molded.
Mathematician and homeopathic healer Erica, living in a small and very British town, is fingered as a suspect by ob/gyn Liz, mother of her former best friend Lucy, when the latter disappears. Erica hasn't spoken to Lucy in years but decides to track her down. With a combination of logic and intuition Erica drives local police crazy with her wild theories that turn out to be correct, and she somehow manages to connect Lucy's disappearance with the similar disappearance of her cousin Molly, 25 years earlier.
The twists and turns are logical, and the spooky factor builds and body count increases with Erica's discoveries...
To sum it up, it's a great read!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ms. Laws is a new author to me so I didn't know what to expect. The book was slow to start but it built up to a fantastic twist ending. Although I found the character of Erica somewhat irritating as a know-it-all amateur detective, I think I will read the next book in the series.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What an interesting concept ! Very well written by a woman about a woman, one who is certainly not Miss Marple perfect. An excellent read. Many thanks to the author. I have just finished reading the next book in what I hope will be a series.
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Format: Kindle Edition
'Much of the time, watching their golden existence, he carried on alone, like some tiny rocky planet orbiting twin suns, so far out as to feel little warmth.'

Valerie Laws's The Rotting Spot is a thriller, and a very good one at that; but it's ultimately about love and loss, the corrosive effects of secrets, and the skeletons (or should that be skulls?) that sometimes rattle around in the most apparently innocent of closets. It is also - as the passage above testifies - extremely well-written.

Much of the action centres around Erica, a pint-sized homoeopathist who, in her spare time, loves nothing more than collecting skulls. Yes, you read that correctly: it's a hobby she picked up from her erstwhile friend and employer, skull hunter Mickey, whose passion in life is amassing the crania of dead animals. 'The rotting spot' of the title refers to the place where Mickey leaves the severed heads to decay, until the flesh and soft material is stripped away, leaving only bone . . . It may sound vile, but it's just a harmless, albeit eccentric, hobby. Or is it? The novel keeps you guessing, on that and many other points. The ultimate prize for the committed skull hunter is, after all, a human skull . . .

When Lucy, Erica's childhood friend, goes missing, the police are initially reluctant to take a great deal of action (understandably - an adult is perfectly entitled to wander off if he or she wants to). However, Erica is unconvinced that Lucy's vanished of her own free will: she had a good life, not to mention a young son. In fact, Erica quickly begins to suspect that Lucy's disappearance has something to do with the almost-parallel vanishing, years before, of her cousin Molly.
Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition
I thoroughly enjoyed The Rotting Spot. I took it on holiday with me and read it in a matter of hours staying up way after midnight to read just one more chapter and ended up reading the whole thing, just couldn't put it down. I was raving about it so much that two of the other ladies traveling with me fought over who could read it next. The other lady who read it enjoyed it thoroughly too! It is a clever, funny, compulsive read and I would highly recommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I am so glad this book was recommended to me. From start to finish Valerie Laws has the reader wanting to know how the situation is to be resolved. Even when the villain is revealed, the suspense is held.
I read this in a couple of sittings as it was so compelling. The descriptive passages are wonderful, bringing the characters and settings to life.
I would recommend this to anyone.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I have to say, I loved this local read.

It took me a while to get in to this book, but once I started I was hooked. And MY, WHAT A TWIST! This novel plays out wonderfully, with everything that could possibly be wanted from a crime novel. I cared for the characters and was genuinely interested in everything about them. The Skull Hunting is particularly interesting - gruesome but wonderful at the same time, fascinating. It made me want to look things up, research further to better understand the characters and their motives.

I loved that even before the author's note at the end, I knew where this book was set - I could see Seaton Sluice and Whitley Bay without being told, they're described wonderfully. It makes me want to go and explore the area further. And I'd love to read more of Erica Bruce.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I chose The Rotting Spot by Valerie Laws as one of the books to read for my crime writer in residence crime series of posts for the Edinburgh eBook Festival. The title intrigued me and it had lots of good reviews so I reckoned it must be a reasonably good read, and it didn't disappoint me. The plot was good, it kept me guessing - I like to be kept guessing but it's becoming increasingly difficult - and the characters were original and engaging. The main character, Erica Bruce, is a homeopath, an exercise and keep fit freak, a borderline anorexic who fights to retain a balance between eating, fitness and health. She jogs and, wait for it, collects the skulls of dead animals as a hobby! Now how much more original than that can you be?

The darkness in this story comes from the many dysfunctional characters the reader meets along the way. One of them speaks with a distinctive Geordie accent, and although I often have problems reading books that use accents in dialogue, I had no problems following this one. The story revolves round a girl who has been missing for 25 years, her dysfunctional family, and her cousin who goes missing during the course of the story.

In many ways this story met the criteria of a cosy, although a lot darker. It had the amateur sleuth, the unbelieving detective, and a great mystery. I don't think it met the criteria of noir, not hard-boiled enough, but it certainly met the criteria of dark. If there was such a sub genre, I'd be tempted to call it a dark cosy. One more thing, the language and descriptions were so vivid I could see them, and when I looked at the author's background I wasn't surprised to find out she is also a poet. I'll be looking out for more books by this author.
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