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I was a bit surprised by this book when it arrived. Joolz Denby is a punk poet, and has written four noir crime novels, including Billie Morgan, longlisted for the Orange Prize. This quirky little novella with a long title features a large black cat and recipes at the back. Has Joolz really written a cosy?
No, not quite. This is a story of two strong women with special powers and a passion for justice. They first met at a stall for Amnesty International, the human rights campaigning organisation. Now they have moved into neighbouring houses in a rough area of Bradford. They offer some of the local children a safe place to hang out and their friendship, and they become fond of Joey, Tiff and Rav. One day, though, Joey turns up with a black eye, and as they try to find out how it happens, his mum comes looking for him, and he disappears. Is he in need of their help?
Of course he is - such is the storyline. Not quite a story of investigating murder, but a tale of a need to help a child at risk. There are some disturbing revelations.
I enjoyed reading this book, with its strong female characters on a mission to help someone in need. The best of the child characters is actually Joey's friend Tiff. It's also quite funny. Some readers might find it a little whimsical, but it's worth reading on to find out what happens.
Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be that easy to buy. I believe the print edition can be bought through the New Model Army fanclub website; Kindle users can download it for £4.81.
This review first appeared at www.thebookbag.co.uk
Format: Paperback 121 pages; Kindle download
Publisher: Ignite Books January 2011
ISBN: 9780 956778604