Between the Lines is an excellent crime thriller set in South Yorkshire where we are introduced to a forensic linguistic specialist and university lecturer in the shape of Dr. Vida Hendrickson. Vida is brilliant in her field, but undervalued both in her professional and personal life where people seem to take her for granted. So when her boss insists that Vida get involved in helping the high-profile family of a young girl understand why she recently took her own life by analysing the suicide note she left behind, she has no real say in the matter. Her initial investigations lead her to a piece of upsetting and revealing evidence, which she shares with DI Slater, the police officer who headed up this case, ultimately determined to be suicide, with no foul play. He’s not at all happy that this case is resurfacing and that this linguist has been able to very quickly unearth information that he was not aware of during his investigation. He’s torn between wanting to find out what really happened and being gutted that he missed it the first time around.
Vida’s involvement is also begrudged by Slater’s boss, DCI Hussain. She thinks involving a linguistic specialist is a joke, and is incredulous when she discovers that Slater has asked Vida to get involved on his latest murder case, the victim being a young up and coming singer called Kitty Morton. Kitty seems to be squeaky clean and no matter how deep they dig, they can’t seem to work out why she would have been targeted, especially as the limited CCTV they have access to seems to suggest she might have been quite comfortable walking and talking with her killer. As Vida is investigating she also happens to stumble across another murder, and things then start hotting up. DI Slater is convinced the two murders are linked and despite his initial misgivings, thinks Vida could be his key to solving the puzzle, however his boss and Vida’s boss are determined to freeze her out of the investigation. Will she get enough time to figure it out before she is forced to drop her analysis or there are more murders?
Between the Lines is a really excellent debut from Freya Wolfe. The focus on forensic linguistics was something that I found interesting and it gives the novel a unique angle but didn’t take over the narrative. As a character, Vida is insecure, both physically and emotionally and she allows people to treat her in such a way that as a reader who has become fond of her, you find annoying. You really want her to stand up for herself more, and I hope that is something that we see grow along with her self-belief in future additions to this series. DI Gabriel Slater is an interesting character, but with a love/hate relationship with his DCI and an interesting background (including the unhealthy involvement with his dodgy brother’s partner) he’s got his plate full too. As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the next in the series when it’s released next year.
I received an advance review copy for free from Booksirens, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Published March 26th 2021
About the Author: Freya Wolfe
Freya has always loved words but has taken a circuitous route to becoming a fully-fledged author, via a law degree at Kings College London, training to be a teacher at Nottingham University and finally a Masters degree in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. In between the study, she’s worked in marketing, technical writing, HR, legal and latterly, education.
When she discovered Forensic Linguistics, she realised that here was a passion that combined both her love of language and her love of all things criminal. And from there, the character of Dr Vida Henrikson was born.
Visit Freya’s website here: www.freyawolfe.com