Title: The Uniform (Detective Helen Carter #1)
Author: Jodie Lawrence
Published on: 22 June 2021
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Police Procedural
The Uniform is the first book in Jodie Lawrance‘s Detective Helen Carter series.
Sergeant Helen Carter is transferred to the CID temporarily. Her boss DI Jack Craven is known for his short temper and is difficult to work with. In a male-dominated Edinburgh CID, Helen is not welcome. Her first case involves a murder in an old and abandoned picture house. The man is brutally murdered and a card of a Private Investigator is found near the body. The killer has left behind a clock-like symbol drawn in blood on the wall.
Soon, two more bodies are found – there is only one link connecting them – the mysterious calling card and symbol. Can Helen prove herself and catch the killer red-handed before it is too late? Only time will tell…
The Uniform is Jodie Lawrance’s debut novel. Set in the 1970s in Scotland, The Uniform is a gripping police procedural that leaves one guessing till the end. Helen is the only woman working as a Sergeant in the Edinburgh CID and her appointment to the force does not go well with her colleagues. Helen’s father was a famous detective and her colleagues think nepotism played a major role in her recruitment to the police force.
Helen doesn’t give a damn about the sneers and snide remarks by her fellow colleagues. Some are downright rude to her while some play double games (nice to her when they are alone and laugh at her while with friends). She does not care! She’s partnered with Jack Craver, a detective known for his temper. When the first body is found – in the picture house – and the detectives discover the card of a private detective, Helen doubts if Craver knows the PI. The duo meet the PI in question and Helen’s doubts are clarified – she knows for sure Craven and the PI share history. She then learns the PI was an ex-cop and knew her father. Craven tells Helen her father was rumored to be a bent copper.
The mystery behind the murders kept me guessing till the end. Apart from the calling cards or clock-like symbol left at the crime scenes, Helen and Craver realize there’s more to the story than just a serial killer at play. We have two POVs in the story – Helen and Craver and, the PI. The treatment that Helen gets from her colleagues and her boyfriend Ted leaves a sour taste in the mouth – the kind of treatment working women got in those days. Poor thing has to work twice has hard as men to prove her worthiness. If this wasn’t stressful enough, her boyfriend is an alcoholic and tries to force her to quit her job. Even when Helen is badly injured (at the end), instead of being supportive, the bugger says ‘I knew this would happen.’ What an ass!
The spotlight is not only on the murder mystery but also on the characters’ personal life. Craver is going through a tough period – something to do with his ex-wife and kids.
Jodie Lawrance is a master storyteller and I am certainly looking forward to reading the next book in this series. Excellent character portrayal and mystery to keep one hooked on to the story till the end. The Uniform by Jodie Lawrance is one of the best debut novels I have ever read. If you love police procedurals – this one’s set in the 1970s – you might want to give this book a try.