Book Review: Shed No Tears by Caz Frear
By Michelle CarpenterDecember 1, 2020
The mark of a well-written story is one that immerses the reader and transports them into the writing. That’s exactly what Caz Frear accomplishes in Shed No Tears, the third iteration of the Cat Kinsella detective thrillers. Shed No Tears intricately marries a strong heroine, her dark past, a grisly crime, and the inner workings of British law enforcement.
While this is the third in a series, Frear does a seamless job of bringing the reader up to speed on Kinsella, her personal life, and most importantly, her job as Detective Constable. Launched immediately into a crime scene, we enter the English countryside where Kinsella and her partner, Parnell, are examining unearthed human remains for a case that was never meant to be reopened.
“Holly Kemp doesn’t have to worry about frizzy hair anymore. Or the fact that her cheap cotton work shirt is getting more see-through by the minute.
Holly Kemp hasn’t worried about anything in a long time.
‘So, yeah, this is where we found her.”
Holly Kemp should have been the 4th and final victim of serial killer Christopher Masters, also known as “The Roommate.” However, while her previous disappearance aligned to the modus operandi, the discovery of her body does not. The location, cause of death, and display of the remains no longer tidily fit her piece into that puzzle. And with that, a previously closed case is turned on its head, exposing holes in what was a seemingly cut-and-dried investigation. Kinsella struggles with her own inner demons throughout the novel, understanding that she may be ruining someone’s career during this reinvestigation, while knowing she is hiding secrets that could ruin her own.
As the case becomes more complicated so does the victim. Holly Kemp, originally a girl in the wrong place at the wrong time, no longer seems so innocent. Digging into Holly’s past only leads to more suspects, and a fractured view of the victim. And the interrogations of these suspects only lead to more questions.
He draws two fingers to his temple, making the tiniest of circular motions before jerking them skywards with a cold, sharp laugh.
The universal cuckoo sign, the twirl of his fingers indicating that Holly had a screw loose?
Or a finger gun?
A brazen confession. A gauntlet thrown down.
Although Frear keeps the reader on the edge of their seat while twisting through the labyrinth of Holly’s murder, there is also a very human element established. We are continually shown Kinsella’s vulnerable side through her relationships with her father, sister, and boyfriend—all of whom are intrinsically tied to her job as Detective Constable. The reader comes to care for her and the outcome of her life, rather than just along for the ride in her investigation, which is a feat in the crime thriller genre.
Overall, Frear has done an exemplary job with Shed No Tears. To say that this was a book I couldn’t put down would be an understatement. I believe Cat Kinsella is a detective that the world of literature will be seeing more of, and I very much look forward to that.