This is my second review of books featured in ReadRegional 2016, a fantastic festival of home-grown literary talent across the North of England. Find your local events here.

“Bones in the Nest” is the second novel about Sean Denton, who starts out as a Police Commumity Support Officer (PCSO) in “To Catch A Rabbit” but has now been trained as a fully fledged PC. Sean is a great character: still learning his role, keeping up with banter and conflicted by having to solve a difficult murder case on the estate in Doncaster where he grew up.

Helen Cadbury obviously knows her stuff, with descriptions of modern police experience and frustrations which I can entirely believe and relate to (my next step will be recommending this to my friend in the Met!) But it’s not just about the police officers: the story weaves together Sean’s perspective with a young woman called Chloe, just released from years in prison and now trying to rebuild her life in a bail hostel in York. Her lack of confidence, her attempts to be normal and her sadness at a life where everything seems to have gone wrong and her closest friend is dead offer a nuanced view of life inside and outside the criminal justice system.

I’m now truly grateful for all the inspiring people in York who work with the women of Askham Grange prison or those recovering from poor mental health including Poppleton Railway Nursery and Helmsley Walled Garden. Askham Grange provided inspiration for Helen Cadbury too, according to the acknowledgements! I really loved this book, and I highly recommend it.

(Also, I’m amused by the local pride coming out, in that the gruesome murder of a young man, the racist incidents and arson all happen in a sink estate of tower blocks in Doncaster, while in this book York is a place people go to visit or be restored. Admittedly, York doesn’t have any tower blocks so it’d be hard to have a really bloody murder here, right?)

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