Review: A Bitter Taste by Annie Hauxwell

Title: A Bitter Taste {Catherine Berlin #2}

Author: Annie Hauxwell

Published: Penguin May 2013

Read an Extract

Status: Read from May 23 to 24, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Investigator Catherine Berlin doesn’t do matrimonial or missing persons but, after being fired from her last job with the Financial Services Agency, finds herself reduced to following her grocer’s wife in exchange for daily rations of milk, bread and cheap Scotch and searching London’s seething streets for a junkie’s runaway ten year old daughter.

A Bitter Taste is the second gritty crime novel by Annie Hauxwell featuring Catherine Berlin. Set in contemporary London in the midst of a heatwave, this is a well paced story where the plot twists and turns in unexpected ways. Repaying an old debt by searching for a missing ten year old girl places Berlin in the midst of a drug dealer’s elaborate conspiracy, targeted by corrupt cops and identified as the lead suspect in a murder inquiry. Meanwhile, Berlin’s simple investigation as to the movement’s of her grocer’s wife exposes something far more sinister than an affair. And Berlin is trapped in a dangerous maelstrom of betrayal and murder. 

Catherine Berlin is a complex protagonist. A functional heroin addict, she has distanced herself from typical junkie behaviour, but as her doctor begins to enforce ‘managed reduction’ of her habit she is concerned about her standards slipping, particularly as she is struggling with the painful physical scarring she was left with after the events first book of the series, In Her Blood. The contradictions inherent in Berlin’s flawed character are intriguing, she appears to be a solid investigator but she is often distracted by her addiction. Law and justice seems to be separate considerations for her, based on her own experiences and cynical view of life. I found Berlin to be likeable but not a character I could really identify with.

A Bitter Taste is a dark, gritty crime fiction novel. Annie Hauxwell’s unique heroine and intriguing plot ensures this is an engrossing read and I am looking forward to the series continuing.

CLICK HERE to read my Q&A with Annie Hauxwell to learn more about her and A Bitter Taste

A Bitter Taste is available to purchase

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