The hotly-anticipated new crime novel by North East England author Bea Davenport.
It's the summer of 1984 and there is a sense of unease on the troubled Sweetmeadows estate. The residents are in shock after the suspicious death of a baby and tension is growing due to the ongoing miners' strike. Journalist Clare Jackson follows the story as police bungle the inquiry and struggle to contain the escalating violence. Haunted by a personal trauma she can't face up to, Clare is shadowed by nine-year-old Amy, a bright but neglected little girl who seems to know more about the incident than she's letting on. As the days go on and the killer is not found, Clare ignores warnings not to get too close to her stories and, in doing so, puts her own life in jeopardy.
A special thank you to Legend Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Bea Davenport’s THIS LITTLE PIGGY is a riveting and compelling psycho thriller, centered on the murder of a baby, and the devastating times of political unrest, turmoil, poverty, tragedy, and tension of the Miner’s Strike.
In 1984, times were difficult during the Miner’s Strike, leaving England in disarray. There is trouble at the Sweetmeadows estate, where screams were not uncommon. The estate, houses mostly miners, a collection of sixties-built, flat-roofed, box-shaped flats, up to four stories high. The local council had plans for knocking down the whole estate and rebuilding but there was no money. Some were even empty and boarded up, and what was left standing was mold ridden and damp and housed those among the desperate.
Residents are left shocked by the suspicious death of a baby. A mother, Debs, is frantic about Jamie Donnelly, aged nine months, appearing the baby fell from the balcony and died from the injuries. However, who would throw a baby off a balcony? Rob Donnelly says his wife is innocent.
Clare Jackson, is a driven journalist and is always trying to get a story, and sometimes it is difficult as the police are often closed mouthed and not very forthcoming to the media. Clare is also haunted by a personal trauma and then there is the little nine-year-old Amy, a misfit, which seems to know more than she is saying. Clare wants to help this little girl have a real life, thinking of her past life, and she may just be the only adult to help Amy.
Clare becomes involved personally, while chasing the story and will not give up, digging deeper as we learn more about the poor and bad living conditions of this community. Amy has a vivid imagination and is street smart; however, at times she gets carried away with her stories, so you did not know what to believe. At the same time the poverty and the picketing continues and the father of the baby is one that has chosen to go back to the mines to work, looked upon as a traitor.
In addition there are two other characters interacting with Clare (Joe), another writer for a different paper than the Post, and Finn, a newly appointed heard of the Miner’s Union. These two men do not get along. As the investigation turns up dead ends by the police, Clare is more determined to find the killer, while continuing to become emotionally involved in the life of complex Amy, the abuse, while following the Miner’s strike. A horrible accident, a whole string of pointless deaths, a whole estate that will take years to recover.
This is the kind of book you want to read in one sitting or weekend; however, I happened to be traveling and had to stop many times, as could not wait to get back to this well written intriguing mystery of political unrest, a crime thriller.
I enjoyed Clare’s character, told from her POV and her emotional relationship with Amy, making for a dynamic human interest story diving into social issues, with well- developed characters, and the author does a good job of capturing the era and tension. This was my first book by Davenport, and look forward to reading more!