Cut To The Bone – Alex Caan

“One Missing Girl. Two Million Suspects.

Ruby is a vlogger, a rising star of YouTube and a heroine to millions of teenage girls.

And she’s missing . . .

But she’s an adult – nothing to worry about, surely?

Until the video’s uploaded . . .

Ruby, in the dirt, pleading for her life.

Enter Detective Inspector Kate Riley; the Met’s rising star and the head of a new team of investigators with the best resources money can buy. Among them, Detective Sergeant Zain Harris, the poster boy for multiracial policing. But can Kate wholly trust him – and more importantly, can she trust herself around him?  As hysteria builds amongst the press and Ruby’s millions of fans, Kate and her team are under pressure to get results, and fast, but as they soon discover, the world of YouTube vloggers and social media is much darker than anyone could have imagined.”

I thought it would be exciting to read a mystery set in the unfamiliar world of vlogging, especially as I have a son that spends half of his time online watching videos posted by vloggers.  It gives you a dark side to getting involved in becoming a social media celebrity.  The story is told from two points of view, that of D.I Kate Riley and her D.S Zain Harris.  Riley is originally from America and has moved to London for her own personal reasons and Harris has been placed in her team after a traumatic posting.  Ruby, is a high profile vlogger who, on the face of it blogs about clothes and make up, and tries to inspire her fans to “Live, Laugh and Love” is the girl who disappears, later to have her own murder shown live on the internet.  It is down to Riley and Harris to solve the case, but before they can find who murdered Ruby, they need to work out why she was murdered in the first place.

Alex Caan’s debut thriller is a modern take on the genre of police procedural. The case originally seems like a regular missing person one, but why is it getting fast-tracked after such a short time?  There are far bigger elements involved in Ruby’s disappearance and the team needs to scratch more than the surface to uncover some hidden truths.  The story is written well for the main.  It was difficult to actually get into the story and the characters at the beginning but then the story picks up after the first couple of chapters.  It combines the dangers of social media and the internet world along with politics and corruption.  The plot does have a few twists and turns to keep the reader interested.  The chapters are bite sized to keep the pace going but also to ensure all IT/technical information can be digested.  There is a lot of information at times, but the author does try to explain so you are not bogged down with details of encrypted software, IP addresses, URLs etc.

Cut to the bone is a contemporary thriller perfect for those looking for something a little different.  A great debut novel, and I look forward to seeing more from this author.  Thanks to Bonnier Publishing, Alex Caan and Netgalley for the ARC.

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